India to buy oil from Iran despite US sanctions

US considers sanction waivers on countries reducing imports of Iranian oil

"This price for oil is very largely the result of the current USA administration - these expectations of sanctions against Iran, the political problems in Venezuela", Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a conference in Moscow on Wednesday. Front-month ICE Brent futures settled above $86/b Wednesday, the highest in four years, before dropping back below $85/b Thursday.

The Indian government "has conveyed to the Trump administration that India is a fit case for a presidential waiver from the provisions of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CATSA) on Russian Federation and the sanctions on trade with Iran", the Hindustan Times reported on Friday.

In its lawsuit against the U.S., the Islamic Republic of Iran argued that the sanctions violate the terms of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between Iran and the U.S. It also called on the court to order the U.S. government to immediately stop its destructive measures.

As Iran's key oil customers look for alternative supplies, they are opting for more medium sour crudes from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Russia and UAE.

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West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for November delivery on Friday rose to US$74.34 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Iranian crude oil and condensate exports slumped to just under 1.7 million b/d in September, a fall of nearly 700,000 b/d from May, according to Platts estimates.

Last month, Indian buyers lifted purchases of Iranian crude to 502,000 bpd, up 111,000 bpd over August, in "a last gasp" of purchases 'before sanctions actually hit, ' a US-based trader said, adding that those additional barrels displaced U.S. crude.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday the termination of the USA and Iran's 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights following Iran's use of the document as justification to take the U.S.to the United Nations' International Court of Justice (ICJ) over sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

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"Iranian exports could fall below 1 million bpd in November", U.S. bank Jefferies said.

"Iranian export losses have already accelerated faster than we expected", said Paul Sheldon, S&P Global Platts Analytics' chief geopolitical adviser. US State Department Legal Advisor Jennifer Newstead argues that Iran's request is not within the court's jurisdiction. The Indian oil refiners buy Iranian crude at $3-5 a barrel discount compared to that from other parts of Middle East. Similarly, Iran's crude exports to China increased by 29,000 billion per day to 620,000 billion per day last month. The deal was struck as oil prices began to climb towards $80 per barrel.

Fundamentals indicate a price in the high $70s for Brent, but the reality is seen above that, he said.

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