India’s oil imports from the Middle East dropped to a 19-month low in September as Russian imports surged, a Reuters report said citing data from trade and shipping sources. The report also said that Indian refinery outages have hit overall crude imports. The data show that although Iraq is still the top crude oil supplier, Russia has taken over Saudi Arabia as the second biggest oil exporter to India, according to the news agency.
Down to a 14-month low, India’s total oil imports was 3.91 million barrels per day in September, falling 5.6 per cent from a year earlier. This is due to maintenance at refiners such as Reliance Industries and Indian Oil Corp, the report said.
India’s oil imports from Russia increased 4.6 per cent to 896,000 bpd as imports from the Middle East fell to about 2.2 million bpd, down 16.2 per cent from August. Russia’s share of India’s oil imports surged to an all-time high of 23 per cent from 19 per cent the previous month while that of the Middle East declined to 56.4 per cent from 59 per cent, reported Reuters.
The share of Caspian Sea oil, mainly from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Azerbaijan also rose to 28 per cent from 24.6 per cent.
Taking advantage of discounted prices, India has emerged as Russia’s second-biggest oil buyer after China. A source at one of India’s state refiners said, “The discount on Russian oil has narrowed now but when you compare its landed cost with other grades such as those from the Middle East, Russian oil turned out to be cheaper.”
The data showed that the imports for Saudi Arabia fell to a three-month low of about 758,000 bpd, down 12.3 per cent from August, while imports from Iraq plunged to 948,400 bpd. Imports from the United Arab Emirates declined to a 16-month low of about 262,000 bpd.
In April-September, Higher intake of Caspian Sea oil has hit the share of other regions in India’s imports, cutting OPEC’s market share in the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer to its lowest ever.