Under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to lower oil prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies agreed in June to boost production, having participated in a supply-cutting deal in place since 2017.
Iran seems to be struggling again from U.S. sanctions and despite major buyers announcement for their full compliance with Washington's will to fully stop any incoming Iranian oil, Tehran is starting to store oil in fleet of supertankers again as impending United States sanctions force the Gulf country to revive a strategy it deployed under previous curbs.
However, bringing it down to zero by November is a tall ask given that oil from elsewhere is bound to be more expensive than the discounted rates being offered by Iran, and the fact most Indian refineries are geared for the kind of oil that Iran supplies.
Iran told OPEC last month that no member country should be allowed to take over another member's share of oil exports, expressing Tehran's concern about Saudi Arabia's offer to pump more oil amid the sanctions that threaten to cut Iranian oil sales.
But if Washington adopts a tough line, India would have no other choice than to end imports from Iran, they said. Output has more than doubled since 2008, to 10.7 million barrels a day, fueled by a technology revolution that allows USA drillers to free oil and gas from shale rock. "Are we really prepared for that?"
The flawed Iran nuclear deal was determined not to be the right vehicle to address the range of Iran's malign behaviour, she said.
Benchmark Brent crude was up 16 cents or 0.2 percent at $78.34 a barrel after falling 2 percent on Thursday. "That's a critical goal for us", Singh said in response to question from Congressman Engel.
Last week the USA administration had cleared its stance that Washington may consider waivers for Iranian oil buyers such as India but they must eventually halt crude imports from Tehran. The catalyst behind the price action was two-sided news. US President Trump said on Twitter on Thursday that the United States holds the upper hand in talks.
During the first half of this year, Iran shipped 660,000 bpd of oil to China. "Will they get to zero by November?"
"We find those tankers quite often, leaving and entering Iran in a covert fashion with their transponder turned off", said Samir Madani, co-founder of TankerTrackers.com, which monitors the oil trade.
However, prices were able to rebound into the close on Friday after a report said Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was going to give a press conference on new sanctions on Iran.