India’s Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), plans to buy U.S. crude oil in coming months for its 166,000-bpd refinery in southern India, according to company executives, which would add yet another Indian customer for U.S. crude.
Last month, Indian Oil Corp., the country’s top refiner, became the first Indian company to buy U.S. crude oil, purchasing 1.6 million barrels of Mars crude. A week later, Bharat Petroleum became the second Indian refiner to start buying U.S. crude oil, after Bharat purchased 500,000 bpd each of Mars and Poseidon crude, to be delivered between late September and early October.
India is the latest addition to Asian customers for U.S. crude, after OPEC’s production cuts pushed prices up for the heavy sour crude oil from the Middle East and for grades with high sulfur content.
Referring to purchases of U.S. crude, HPCL Chairman M.K. Surana said at a news conference on Friday, as quoted by Reuters:
“We are also going to buy in the near future, in some months. There are certain grades which we found suitable for us.”
"We should have a wider basket and more options. U.S. crude is an additional option for us,” Surana added.
HPCL is studying if it can replace Nigerian sweet oil with U.S. crude, finance chief J. Ramaswamy said. In addition, the Indian company is interested in importing a very large crude carrier containing 2 million barrels of U.S. oil every month, Reuters quoted Ramaswamy as saying.
U.S. crude oil exports inched up to 1.023 million bpd in May, compared to 1.001 million bpd in April, the latest available EIA data show. In recent months, Canada and China have been alternating positions as the top buyer of U.S. crude. In February and April this year, China imported more crude oil from the U.S. than Canada did, according to the EIA.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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