Essar's oil imports from Iran jump sharply

Essar Oil, a key buyer of Iranian oil, in January sharply raised imports from

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the Islamic state and also became the first Indian refiner to ship in the Brazilian heavy grade Polvo, tanker arrival data showed.

India's oil imports from Iran more than doubled in January from a month earlier after sanctions on Tehran were eased due to an interim deal on its nuclear programme.

Essar received 141,900 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran last month, up from 54,200 bpd in December, according to the data obtained by Reuters. Shipments last month were about 31 percent higher than a year ago.

Essar officials declined to comment.

During the first 10 months of the fiscal year ending March 31, Essar imported 91,500 bpd oil, a decline of about 6 percent from the same period the year before, the data showed.

Essar purchased Polvo from Brazil as it has been testing new heavy grades to improve refining margins.

In the December quarter, Essar met as much as 98 percent of its oil needs through heavy and ultra heavy grades, it said in a statement earlier this month.

Essar's total crude imports in January rose 81.5 percent from a low base in December, when it drew from inventory and cut purchases.

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