Saudi Arabia has replaced Russia as the second-biggest oil importer to India after a three-month gap, even as New Delhi’s share of oil from OPEC dipped to at least a 16-year low of 59.8% as it cut African imports.
India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, shipped 863,950 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Saudi Arabia, up 4.8% from the previous month, while purchases from Russia fell 2.4% to 855,950 bpd, Reuters reported citing data from industry and trade sources.
Iraq remained the top oil supplier to India in August.
India had become Russia’s biggest oil buyer after China as the West cut purchases following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. India and China are keen to secure raw materials at discounts compared with supplies from other countries.
However, as Moscow narrowed the discounts offered for its oil, India’s monthly oil imports from Russia declined after hitting a record in June.
India’s overall crude imports in August declined to a five-month low of 4.45 million bpd, down 4.1% from July, due to maintenance at some refineries, the data showed.[REF/A]
Higher intake of Caspian sea oil, mainly from Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan, have hit India’s purchases from Africa and other countries.
The data showed that African oil’s share in August halved to 4.2% while Latin America’s share fell to 5.3% from about 7.7%.
“India’s diesel demand is lower during the monsoon season, which means low import of west African oil,” Haq said.
In August, the United Arab Emirates stayed at No. 4 while Kazakhstan replaced Kuwait to become the fifth-largest oil supplier to India, followed by the United States.
Increased purchases of Saudi and Emirati oil raised Middle East’s share in India to 59% in August from 54% in July while that of CIS nations rose to about a quarter from 23%, the data showed.
Russian oil accounted for about 16% of India’s overall imports in April-August, the first five months of this fiscal year, at 757,000 bpd compared with 20,000 bpd a year earlier, or a 0.5% share, the data showed.
That lifted the share of CIS countries in India’s April-August oil imports to about 20% from 2.9%, the data showed.