India’s oil imports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) dropped by 26% a year ago as refiners increased the number of discounted Russian shipments. The supply fell to 46% in April 2023 from 72% of crude oil India imported in April 2022.
India’s oil import from Russia was more than from Iraq and Saudi Arabia; moreover, Russia has been the largest supplier in the last decade.
India imported 90% of crude oil once, but this has been sliding since Russian oil became available at a discount after the Ukraine invasion in February last year. In April, OPEC supplied 2.1 million barrels to India per day out of 4.6 million barrels.
Russian oil imports in March doubled by 0.81 million barrels per day from Iraq, which was once India’s top supplier. Saudi Arabia slipped to the third position with 0.67 million barrels per day. The UAE overtook the US in March and became the fourth largest supplier, sold 1.85 million barrels/day, higher than 1.19 barrels per day.
OPEC may cut oil production in May could further shrink OPEC’s share in India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, later this year if Russia stays on top.
“Russian crude is already cheaper than the similar Middle Eastern grades, and it seems OPEC is harming itself by a reduction in output,” said Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq.
“It will further erode its market in Asia,” he added.
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The India-Russia relationship remains the same, as Russia continued to be the largest supplier of crude oil for the seventh straight month by supplying more than one-third of the oil India imported.
India’s import from Russia is more than the combined purchases from Iraq and Saudi Arabia.