No tanker shortage to ship Iranian crude: MRPL

March 21st, 2012 - 9:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, March 21 (IANS) State-run Mangalore Refinery Petroleum Ltd (MRPL) is not facing shortage of oil tankers to ship crude from Iran for refining at its facility in Mangalore, a senior official said Wednesday.

“We do not have shortage of dedicated vessels to bring Iranian crude oil. There is no problem as of now. We have chartered four ships to bring about 90,000 metric tonnes every month,” the official told IANS.

MRPL has contracts to ship seven million tonnes of crude from Iran during this fiscal (2011-12).

Allaying fears on import of Iranian crude by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) subsidiary (MRPL) in light of the US sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, the official said he cannot share details on the measures being taken to ensure enough crude oil supplies to the refinery in Mangalore.

“We do not foresee any shipping problem as there is time to explore alternatives in the event of the US sanctions coming into force from June 28. We will take a call on shipping arrangements for next fiscal (2012-13) soon,” the official said.

Noting that it was a sensitive issue with political and diplomatic overtones, the official said it was for the government to decide on the shipping modalities in the event of crisis.

“As a public sector enterprise, it is for the government and our (petroleum) ministry to decide on the issues pertaining to the quantum of crude to be imported from Iran and its mode of transportation. We have not faced any problem so far on both issues,” the official asserted.

Disagreeing with reports in a section of the media that MRPL plans to substantially reduce import of Iranian crude oil in the wake of the US imposing sanctions on the Persian country, the official clarified that the company could source crude from other countries for processing and refining the fossil fuel.

“We have the facility and the technology to process and refine any crude oil. If it becomes difficult to secure Iranian crude for trade or political reasons, the ministry will explore alternative sources to ensure our capacity is fully utilised, as we have commitments to supply a range of intermediary products such as diesel, petrol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene,” the official added.

Iran is India’s second biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia, accounting for around 15 percent of total imports per year.

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