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Indian refiners boosted Iranian crude oil imports in February while they received one-third lower imports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Both Saudi Arabia and Iraq are bound by OPEC supply cut deal, leading to Iran overtaking Iraq as India’s second-biggest crude oil provider in February.
According to a report by Thomson Reuters Oil Research and Forecasts and ship tracking data, India’s crude oil imports jumped to 647,000 bpd in February, up by 16.7 percent compared to January and almost triple the volumes imported in February last year, just a couple of weeks after most of the Western sanctions on Iran were lifted.
At the same time, imports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq were almost one-third lower in February compared to the same month last year.
According to Reuters data, Iran thus managed to regain some market share, being allowed slightly to raise output under OPEC’s agreement to curb global supply, while rivals Saudi Arabia and Iraq are cutting production. The Saudis continue to be India’s largest oil supplier, but now Iran is replacing Iraq as no.2 provider, a spot that it had held before the EU and the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program.
India imported roughly 542,400 bpd from Iran between April last year and February this year – the first 11 months of India’s fiscal year ending March – compared to around 225,522 bpd for the same period the previous year, Reuters calculations and data show.
Related: Falling Oil Prices Could Upend The OPEC Deal
Indian imports averaged 598,400 bpd in January and February 2017, versus about 192,500 bpd for those two months last year.
There was another overtaking in the top five of Indian oil suppliers, with Nigeria shipments soaring 94 percent in February compared to January, to outstrip Venezuela as India’s fourth-largest supplier.
In January, industry sources said that Saudi Arabia cut February term crude oil loadings to some buyers in India and Southeast Asia, but would be shipping full delivery volumes to North Asia in order to protect its market share there.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.