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India's oil imports from Iran fell by about 23 per cent over January-June as refiners curtailed shipments in the early months of the year to keep volumes within the limits allowed under an interim nuclear deal in place since the end of 2013.
India shipped in 2,16,500 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Iran in the first six months of 2015 compared with 281,000 bpd a year ago, according to preliminary data from trade sources and a report compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts.
In March, Indian refiners had halted imports from Iran for the first time in at least a decade to meet a fiscal year target of 220,000 bpd, dragging down the average daily purchases for the January-June period.
India, the world's fourth biggest oil consumer and Iran's top client after China, received 283,900 bpd oil from the OPEC member in June, a decline of about 23 percent from May but up about 70 percent from the same month last year.
For April-June, India's first fiscal quarter and the first three months of annual contracts with Iran, India shipped in nearly 50 percent more oil from Tehran at 306,000 bpd compared with the same period last year, the data showed.
Iran and six world powers are currently in talks to end a decades-old deadlock over Iran's disputed nuclear programme. Western countries suspect Iran of seeking the capability to make a nuclear weapon, while Tehran says its programme is peaceful.
The two sides gave themselves an extra week from a self imposed deadline of June 30 to reach an accord that would curb Tehran's nuclear activity in exchange for relief from economic sanctions that were toughened in early 2012. The hardened sanctions cut Iran's crude exports by more than half to around 1 million bpd and cost it billions in oil payments.
Despite the lapsed deadline and many unresolved issues, some diplomats have given upbeat assessments on the prospects for a final deal being reached soon.
Asian imports of Iranian crude in May rose to the highest level this year at 1.2 million bpd, although buyers may have to curb any further increases if negotiators fail to reach a final deal on Tehran's nuclear work.
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