Middle East Share Of India's Oil Imports At Over Two-Year High In July
Experts stated lower fuel demand and paltry refining margins had driven a choice for Middle Eastern sour grades over sweet African barrels.
New Delhi– Middle Eastern oil accounted for 71.5% of India’s oil imports in July, its highest share in 26 months, while imports from Africa were up to 5%, the lowest in at least 14 years, data from trade sources revealed on Friday.
Analysts stated lower fuel demand and paltry refining margins had driven a choice for Middle Eastern sour grades over sweet African barrels.
India, the world’s third-biggest oil customer, imports more than 80% of its oil needs.
“Since April Indian refiners are trying to save every single penny on crude purchases as refining margins are paltry and fuel demand has crashed. They are forced to cut refiners runs,” said Ehsan Ul Haq, an analyst with Refinitiv.
Indian refiners mostly tap spot markets for low sulphur or sweet grades and buy sour grades under term deals with Middle Eastern producers.
“Imports from the Middle East help in saving freight cost. Refiners opted to lift committed volumes under contracts with Middle Eastern producers rather than taping costly brent-linked African oil that takes more than 20 days to reach India,” Haq added.
India’s oil imports plunged to their lowest in more than nine years in July, falling to around 3 million barrels per day as low fuel demand encouraged refiners to shut units for maintenance.
Imports from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) dropped to their lowest in at least 14 years at 67.15 percent in July, data showed.
Rising imports from the U.S. also dented Africa’s share in Indian imports, according to TOI.
The sources declined to be identified as they are not authorized to speak to the media.
India imported no oil from Venezuela for the second month in a row in July, the data showed.
During the month, Iraq retained its top oil supplier status to India followed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a country that has just agreed over a peace treaty with Israel.
The Institute of Capacity Building for Political Studies (ICBPS)
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