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Soaring Russian Oil Imports Drag OPEC’s Market Share in India to a Record Low

Russia was India’s single largest oil supplier for a second consecutive fiscal year, as surging imports of Russian crude dragged down the share of OPEC and Middle East supply to India to a record low, Reuters reported on Friday, citing data from tanker-tracking data obtained from industry sources.

In the 2023/2024 fiscal year ended March 31, the share of Middle East oil supply of India’s oil imports slumped to as low as 46% -- the lowest on record dating back to 2001-2002, according to the Reuters analysis. This compares with a 55% share of the Middle Eastern crude supply of Indian imports in the previous fiscal year 2022/2023.      

The key driver of historically low Indian imports from the Middle East was the surge in Russian crude supply to the world’s third-largest oil importer.

Russia alone accounted for around 35% of all Indian crude oil imports in 2023/2024, per the data compiled by Reuters.  

For the first time ever, India – which depends on imports for around 87% of its oil consumption – imported roughly equal volumes of OPEC and non-OPEC crude, thanks to the 57% annual surge in imports from non-OPEC producer Russia. 

Higher prices of Saudi crude and lower Kuwaiti supply as Kuwait limited exports of some grades to direct them to a new refinery also contributed to the low share of the OPEC and Middle Eastern crude of India’s imports. 

India’s crude imports remained flat in the 2023/2024 fiscal year, but the import bill of the world’s third-largest oil importer fell by almost 16% due to lower oil prices and record-high imports of cheaper Russian crude.   

While volumes were essentially unchanged, India’s spending on crude oil imports dropped by 16%, to $132.4 billion in 2023/2024, down from the $157.5 billion import bill for the 2022/2023 fiscal year, provisional data from the Indian Oil Ministry showed earlier this week.  


By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 19 2024 said:
    This proves that Western sanctions against Russia are a complete failure. It also gives the lie to Western media reports that some Indian refiners have reduced if not stopped altogether imports of Russian crudes under pressure of sanctions.

    India doesn't recognize Western sanctions against Russia and is continuing to buy Russian crudes in increasing volumes.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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