NEW DELHI: Amidst escalating American rhetoric against Iran and a fast approaching November deadline for implementation of US oil sanctions against the country, India's Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan disclosed in Parliament on Monday that Iran had ousted Saudi Arabia as India's second largest oil supplier during the April-June period of this year.
The disclosure comes even as sources say the Indian government has instructed oil public sector undertakings (PSU) to be ready for a shortfall in Iranian supplies. US sanctions are set to rollout in early November and the global economic giant has warned that countries that do not reduce Iranian imports to zero will face sanctions too.
According to data submitted in response to a series of questions on how the government would deal with supply shortfalls, Indian oil PSUs imported 5.67 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran for Rs 19,978.46 crore ($2.95 billion) during the first three months of the current fiscal year.
EDITORIAL | Stand up to US bullying over Iranian oil
Saudi Arabian supply meanwhile, stood at 5.22 million tonnes during the period, coming in at third place and Iraq remained India's largest supplier accounting for 7.27 million tonnes. Import data for the previous two fiscal years (2016-17 and 2017-18) place Iraq and Saudi Arabia as the top two suppliers with Iran in third and fourth place respectively.
While Pradhan did not confirm whether the government had warned oil firms to be prepared for a drastic cut in supply, sources say the government has been in discussions with both Iran and the US on the issue. In earlier public statements, oil sector representatives have said that there were enough alternate sources of oil and gas that PSUs could tap to replace Iranian supply, including American supplies.