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OPEC’s Share Of India’s Oil Imports Hits Record Low

OPEC had a record-low share of India’s oil imports between April and September, as the world’s third-largest crude importer more than doubled purchases of Russian crude, according to industry and trade data compiled by Reuters.

Between April and September, the first half of India’s 2023/2024 fiscal year, Indian imports of Russian crude oil more than doubled to 1.76 million barrels per day (bpd) from 780,000 bpd in the same period of the 2022/2023 year, per vessel-tracking data cited by Reuters.

India buys from abroad more than 80% of the crude oil it consumes. Over the past year and a half, the country has significantly raised its imports of cheaper Russian crude oil, which is banned in the West.

In the first half of 2023/2024, Russia held a 40% share of Indian crude oil imports, while the share of OPEC exporters slumped to a record low of 46%, according to a Reuters analysis of data going back to 2001/2002. In the April-September period of 2022, OPEC’s share of Indian oil imports was 63%.

Indian refiners have significantly ramped up imports from Russia while reducing purchases from Saudi Arabia, the world’s top crude oil exporter and Russia’s key partner in the OPEC+ pact.

After lower imports of Russian crude in July and August compared to the prior months, India’s imports of oil from Russia rebounded in September.

Cheaper Russian crude compared to Middle Eastern alternatives prompted Indian refiners to import more crude from Russia last month compared to a seven-month low in August. India’s crude oil imports from Russia rebounded amid a tighter market and more expensive crude from the Middle East, including from Saudi Arabia, which has been raising its contractual selling prices for Asia.  

According to the tanker-tracking data compiled by Reuters, Indian imports of Russian crude rose in September by 11.8% from August and jumped by 71.7% compared to September 2022, to an average of 1.54 million bpd.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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