Hyderabad: The HPCL board will consider signing crude import agreement with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), a top official has said.

The Azerbaijani company has come forward to supply crude and the proposal will be taken up with the HPCL Board, said K Murali, Director Refineries, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

"We are already in touch with them. We will take their offer to the board and take its approval. If everything goes well, we will start importing crude from this year itself in small quantities to start with," Murali told newspaper without indicating when the Board will take up the issue.

HPCL's move to import crude from the CIS nation indicates the oil PSU's intention to diversify its sources of crude oil imports and to reduce its dependence on any particular region, particularly in the wake of sanctions imposed by the US and EU on Iran, an industry analyst said.

Murali said the initial quantities from Azerbaijan will be in the range of 0.5 million tons, adding that if everything goes well the quantity can be increased.

"The Azeri crude is also economical for us. Rate is also competitive. That is the reason we may prefer," he explained.

Another state-owned oil company, Indian Oil Corporation has also started importing from Azerbaijan from January.

Sources in IOCL said currently the imports from Azerbaijan are in the range of 20,000 barrels a day (equivalent to 2800 tons).


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