OPEC’s share of Indian oil imports plunges to lowest in two decades

OPEC’s share of India’s oil imports fell to the lowest in at least two decades in the year to the end of March as overall purchases by Asia’s third largest economy fell to a six-year low, data obtained from industry and trade sources showed. Total crude imports by the world’s third-biggest oil importer fell to 3.97 million barrels per day (bpd) in the 2021 fiscal year to March 31, down 11.8% from a year earlier, the data showed.

India bought more US and Canadian oil at the expense of that from Africa and the Middle East, reducing purchases from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to around 2.86 million barrels per day and squeezing the group’s share of imports to 72% from around 80% previously.

That is the lowest share since at least the 2001/02 fiscal year, before which crude import data is not available. India’s refiners are diversifying purchases to boost margins, having upgraded plants to process cheaper tougher crude grades, but refinery runs were hit as the pandemic curbed fuel consumption.

The country’s annual fuel demand in 2020/21 fell for the for the first time in at least 23 years, according to government data released last month, hitting its lowest since 2016/2017.

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