India's oil imports rose 4.6 percent in February

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India's oil imports rose 4.6 percent in February

Iran and Russian Federation reportedly struck a deal to enable Iran to continue to export its oil worldwide by navigating through the Caspian Sea.

But potential sellers of used vessels are more wary this time round after a Greek network that helped Iran buy tankers under previous sanctions was blacklisted.

Days after US sanctions on Iran's oil, shipping, and insurance industries returned in early November, the Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said at a press briefing that "If Iranian tankers make calls to your ports or transit through your waterways, this comes at great risk".

The news of an advanced level meeting with industry executives on critical diplomatic and political mandates came forward, after Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) commented yesterday (March 11th) that the United States would be leading the global crude supply and controlling the markets alongside prices within next five years.

Earlier, the USA had granted significant reduction exemptions (SRE) to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey in November 2018 for a period of six months.

Replacing vessels is not going to be an easy task because of the USA sanctions.

Oil traders do not want to enter Iran.

A senior Iranian official told Reuters that "Plenty of countries are happy to do business with Iran", adding that there are several ways to cope with the shortage of tankers, including using tankers of other countries.

OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC partners have been influencing the state of the oil market with cuts or production increases, such as those just ahead of the US sanctions on Iran to proactively respond to what the USA was promising to be "zero" Iranian oil exports. Insurance companies in the West are also hesitant to get involved.

The United States has reimposed sanctions against Iran after withdrawing from a landmark 2015 agreement under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

"Iran is trying to bypass the sanctions on it through the covert smuggling of petroleum via the sea", he said. Most Europeans, as well as Japan and South Korea, have stopped. It is now looking elsewhere including Vietnam. A third Iranian official said talks were still ongoing.

Renewed US sanctions have also meant Iran has been unable to secure vital certification services from foreign providers to ensure its ships remain seaworthy, shipping officials said.

It is believed that more than 15 Iranian tankers are coming up to 20 years old.

Iran has more than 50 tankers, but needs them for both transporting oil and storing unsold stocks in its territorial waters - given its limited onshore storage capacity.

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