LONDON-Oil prices started the week under pressure, amid reports the US could grant waivers to some buyers of Iranian crude when oil sanctions on the Islamic Republic go into effect next month.
In a sign that Iran oil exports won't fall to nothing from November, India will buy 9 million barrels of Iranian crude next month, Reuters reported on Friday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in India last month that the administration would consider waivers and that some buyers of Iranian oil would take a "little bit of time" to unwind their trade with Iran.
"India is continuing with its relationship with both its key energy partners Iran and the United States", a second source said.
Brent for December settlement fell as much as $1.50 to $82.66 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, and was at $83.05 at 1:30 p.m.in London. It hit a four-year high of $86.74 last week.
Speaking at the energy forum in New Delhi on Monday, Pradhan said India did not know whether it would receive a waiver from Washington's sanctions.
Washington is pushing allies to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero and will impose a new round of sanctions on Iranian oil sales in November.
With Iran sanctions still on the table, potential spare capacity constraints and also a slowdown in US drilling, USA bank J.P.Morgan said in its latest cross-asset outlook for clients that it recommended to "stay long Jan '19 WTI on supply risks to crude".
The government was discussing its options to buy Iranian oil with all authorities, Pradhan said. Output by OPEC's top producer is now at about 10.7 million barrels a day, and it can add a further 1.3 million from its spare capacity "if the market needs that", he said in the interview.
Saudi Arabia's ARAMCO has said it will make up for market demands for crude in Iran's place.
Oil has been supported by concern that the Iranian export loss will leave a thinner margin of unused production capacity to deal with supply shocks.
Zanganeh accused Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia of bowing to US pressure, saying such remarks had no "real impact on the market" but were part of a psychological war launched against Iran.