Insurance companies not covering storage of Iranian oil, says Indian Oil official

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday warned oil producers like Saudi Arabia that high crude prices were hurting the global economy as he sought reasonable rates and a review of payment terms to provide a temporary relief to the local currency.

Rejecting claims that India has sought a waiver of sanctions from the USA as to continue purchasing crude oil from Iran, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said he has articulated the country's position on importing oil from the Persian Gulf nation in November and "there is nothing new to repeat".

India, which imports more than 80 percent of its oil imports, has been under pressure as crude oil prices have surged and its rupee currency has lost value. Issue isn't shortfall of oil, it's sentiment.

The sentiment in the market that vanishing of a big oil producer from the market may hamper supplies, is impacting prices and causing volatility in the market.

According to Refinitiv Eikon data, Iranian exports of crude oil have declined to 1.33 million bpd, a sharp contrast to April's 2.5 million bpd, before the United States withdrew from the Iranian accord amidst harsh criticism, and United States pressure on allies to cease purchases of Iranian-sourced crude appear to be working, dragging oil prices steadily higher on the higher timeframes.

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Prices hit a four-year high of $86.74 a barrel earlier this month as the market grapples with the expected loss of Iranian exports due to United States sanctions. He noted that the oil market is producer driven and both the quantity and prices are determined by the oil-producing countries.

The only bearish pressure for WTI rests with USA crude supplies, which should a build-up for a fourth straight week, peaking at 1.1 million barrels for the week ended October 12th according to both the American Petroleum Institute and the Energy Information Administration.

"America thinks Saudi Arabia can replace this oil. These supply disruptions need a shock absorber and the shock absorber to a large extent has been Saudi Arabia", he said. The meet was part of 40 heads of top oil companies and organisations.

"These optional volumes can be taken at any time of the year and would be more than sufficient to make up for any shortfall that may arise because of the USA sanctions against Iran".

The Prime Minister in 2015 had set a target of reducing India's oil dependence by 10 per cent to 67 per cent (based on import dependence of 77 per cent in 2014-15) by 2022.

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