By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s Russian oil imports in November rose to a 4-month high of 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd), up 3.1% from October, making up about 36% of the nation’s overall imports last month, data obtained from trade sources showed.
Russia became India’s top oil supplier this year as the south Asian nation was drawn to Russian oil discounts after some Western companies shunned purchases from Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer, has traditionally relied on Middle Eastern producers for meeting the bulk of its oil needs and rarely made purchases from Russia in the past due to high transportation costs.
Last month, India overall imported about 4.5 million bpd oil, a decline of about 4.5% from October and a growth of 13% over the same month last year, the data showed.
The sources declined to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia were the next top oil suppliers to India after Russia in November.
Higher purchase of Russian oil has dented the share of Middle Eastern oil in India’s crude diet.
The share of Middle Eastern oil in India’s November oil imports was about 46% compared with 48% in October, while that of the Commonwealth of Independent States – Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan – rose to 39% from 36%, the data showed.
In the first eight months of this fiscal year that began April 1, India’s imports of Russian oil rose by 77% to an average 1.7 million bpd, the data showed.
Increased Indian imports of Russian oil have also dragged down the share of oil from the member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in April-November to 48% from about 62% in the same period last year, the data showed.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Mrigank Dhaniwala)