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Essar Refinery in India Makes Preliminary Booking of Iran Crude

Essar Oil Ltd., the operator of India’s second-largest non-state refinery, provisionally hired a crude tanker to load from the Iranian port of Kharg Island, shipping data show.

The Mumbai-based company chartered the United Star to carry 130,000 metric tons on May 22 for delivery to Vadinar, according to reports from three shipbrokers including Galbraith’s Ltd. in London. The Liberia-flagged vessel, classed as a Suezmax tanker, is under way in the Persian Gulf. Provisional fixtures are subject to changes or cancellation.

Rabin Ghosh, a Mumbai-based spokesman for Essar, declined to comment. The company, which has a contract to import about 100,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude, will buy 85 percent to 90 percent of agreed volumes, two people with knowledge of the plan said on May 2.

India is reducing its imports of Iranian oil after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to enlist New Delhi’s help with sanctions against the Persian Gulf nation over its nuclear program. India will cut purchases by 20 percent to 14 million tons in the 12 months through March, two diplomats and two refinery officials said this week, asking not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Iran, which says its nuclear program is peaceful, also faces a European Union embargo on the transportation, purchase, financing and insurance of its oil starting July 1.

Essar last month loaded a similar quantity of crude from Kharg Island on the United Resolve, shipping data show.

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