Iraq remains top oil supplier to India

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Contributes a fifth of India’s needs; imports from U.S. rise fourfold from 2017-18

Iraq has, for the second year in a row, become India’s top crude oil supplier, meeting more than a fifth of the country’s oil needs in 2018-19 fiscal year.

According to data sourced from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Iraq sold 46.61 million tonnes (mt) of crude oil to India during April 2018 and March 2019, 2% more than 45.74 mt it had supplied in 2017-18 fiscal.

India provisionally imported 207.3 mt of crude oil in 2018-19, down from 220.4 mt in the previous financial year.

Saudi dethroned

Saudi Arabia has traditionally been India’s top oil source, but it was for the first time dethroned by Iraq in 2017-18 fiscal year. In 2018-19, Saudi exported 40.33 mt of crude oil, up from 36.16 mt of oil sold in the previous year.

While India stopped importing crude oil from Iran following reimposition of economic sanctions this month by the U.S., the Persian Gulf nation was the third largest crude oil supplier to India. It sold 23.9 mt of crude in 2018-19, up from 22.59 mt in the previous year, according to the data.

UAE topped Venezuela to become India’s fourth-largest crude supplier.

It sold 17.49 mt of crude oil to India. In 2017-18, Venezuela had supplied 18.34 mt and UAE 14.29 mt. Nigeria was the next biggest supplier with 16.83 mt of exports in 2018-19, down from 18.11 mt in the previous year. Kuwait supplied 10.78 mt of oil and Mexico another 10.28 mt.

The U.S., which began selling crude oil to India in 2017, is fast becoming a major source.

6.4 mt from U.S.

Supplies from the U.S. jumped more than fourfold to 6.4 mt in the 2018-19 fiscal year. In 2017-18, the first year of imports from the U.S., the supplies were at 1.4 mt.

Iran was India’s second biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11, but western sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme relegated it to the seventh spot in subsequent years.

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