India Open to Importing U.S. Oil in Effort to Diversify Sources

  • U.S. ended 40-year-old restrictions on crude exports last year
  • India purchasing Iranian crude and engaging in other projects

India is open to buying crude from the world’s newest exporters including the U.S. as it attempts to diversify its supply sources.

The world’s fourth-biggest oil consumer will consider American supplies at the right price after the U.S. reversed a decades-old law that restricted exports of unrefined crude, according to Dharmendra Pradhan, the country’s petroleum minister. India is also importing 10 million metric tons from Iran, which had sanctions against oil sales lifted in January, he said.

“If I get good terms, I’m open to buy crude from anybody,” Pradhan said in an interview in New Delhi on Monday. .“There are three primary sources for our crude oil supplies: the Gulf, Latin America and Africa. We want to diversify.”

India, which consumes more oil than any country besides the U.S., China and Japan, gets about 60 percent of what it needs from the Middle East. The country is also increasing engagement with Russia and central Asia in its search for a diverse basket of suppliers, Pradhan said.

U.S. Congress in December overturned a 1975 law that banned most exports of crude after shale drillers boosted output by more than 4 million barrels a day over the past five years. Since then U.S. companies have shipped cargoes of oil to markets including China, Italy and Venezuela.

“When the U.S. commerce minister came to see me last year, I had asked this,” Pradhan said. “In those days, the U.S. was not given permission for exports. Now they have given permission. We have to see. If I get a good price, I’m open. I don’t have any hurdles.”

In addition to importing Iranian crude, India is also engaged with the country in discussions about liquefied natural gas, fertilizer plants and petrochemical projects, Pradhan said.

“We have a comprehensive engagement strategy with Iran, it’s not related only to crude oil,” he said.

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