Essar Oil, Iran's top Indian client, imported 18.6 percent more oil from Tehran in 2013/14 after a jump in shipment volumes in the final quarter to end-March, according to tanker arrival data obtained from trade sources.
The private refiner shipped in about 231,100 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude in March, its highest monthly shipment since at least January 2011, reflecting a growth of about 90 percent from February and six times more than the volume in March 2013, the data showed, Reuters reported.
The higher volumes in the quarter were probably triggered by an interim deal agreement Tehran and the six world powers cut in November for a loosening of trade sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's disputed nuclear program.
Essar shipped in about 105,700 bpd from Iran in the year to March 31, the data showed, benefiting from discounts offered by Tehran.
On the basis of actual loading from Iran, Essar lifted about 31 percent more oil than the contracted 80,000 bpd in the last fiscal year, a government source said.
Iran accounted for about a third of Essar's total imports of about 3.28mln bpd in the last fiscal year, compared with 27.6 percent the year before, the data showed.