MRPL buys Iraqi Basra oil to replace Iran oil: Source

NEW DELHI: Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd has made a rare purchase of Iraqi Basra Light crude via a spot tender, partly to plug the gap created by reduced imports of Iranian oil, a person with knowledge of the trade said.

The government has asked refiners to slash oil purchases from Iran in the February-March period to keep imports at the previous fiscal year's levels and avoid the risk of contravening sanctions targeting Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, sources said last month.

MRPL, a major Indian client of Iran, bought 1 million barrels of Basra Light oil from Europe's Total at a discount of $1.50 a barrel to Dubai prices on a delivered basis for March 1-10 lifting, said the source, who declined to be identified.

The refiner rarely tenders for high-sulphur crude such as Basra, since it typically imports Iranian oil also with high sulphur levels, according to the terms of an annual term contract with OPEC member Iran.

In a separate tender for low-sulphur oil, the Indian refiner has purchased 1 million barrels of Congolese Coco crude from trader Vitol at a discount of $4 a barrel to dated Brent for lifting in the first half of March, said the source.

Oil company officials do not comment publically on spot tenders.

MRPL operates a refinery with a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day on the west coast of in Karnataka.

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