MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries, India's biggest oil refiner, said it is looking to buy more crude from Iran as the company seeks to rebuild ties to benefit from shorter shipping distances, said Reuters.
The company had made small purchases from Iran in the current quarter and was currently engaged in talks for bigger supplies, indicating that it could also get into a long-term supply contract, said V Srikanth, Reliance's joint chief financial officer.
India is set to import at least 400,000 bpd of Iranian oil in the year from April 1, with refiners looking to ramp up purchases after the sanctions targeting Tehran ended in January, sources had told Reuters.
Iran was India's second biggest oil supplier before economic sanctions aimed at Iran's nuclear program hampered its trade relations. Now, Indian buyers are being drawn back to Iran in part by freight discounts that increase as more barrels are purchased.
The comments came as Reliance posted its biggest quarterly profit in over eight years on better margins in the company's core refining and petrochemical business. Reliance, controlled by India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, reported an estimate-topping net profit of 73.98 billion rupees (USD1.11 billion) for the Jan-March period -- its highest quarterly profit since December 2007.
The gross refining margin on each barrel of crude processed was USD10.80/bbl, up from USD10.1/bbl a year ago, Reliance said. Srikanth said the company will be able to sustain margins at above USD10 -- one of the highest among global refiners -- in the current financial year.
As MRC informed earlier, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has resumed operations at its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in Dahej. A source in India informed that the plant was brought on-stream yesterday. It was shut in last week owing to a shortage of water. Located at Dahej in the western India state of Gujarat, the plant has a production capacity of 315,000 mt/year.
Reliance Industries is one of the world's largest producers of polymers. The company's polymer production in 2010-11 (polypropylene, polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride) made 4,094 kilo tonnes.