Saudi Arabia replaced Iraq as the top oil supplier to India in April after a gap of three months as refiners in Asia’s third largest economy were drawn by deep discounts on Saudi crudes, data obtained from sources showed.
Refiners in India, the third largest oil importer, requested higher volumes for April from Saudi Aramco and UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), which both increased output while cutting prices last month.
India’s oil imports in April totalled 4.63 million barrels per day (bpd), up 5 per cent from March but down 4.1 per cent from April 2019, the data showed.
Indian refiners had to curtail crude processing last month as demand slumped to its lowest levels since 2007 due to a nation-wide lockdown to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Lower demand and storage constraints forced some refiners to declare force majeure on oil purchases from the Middle East, defer cargoes and keep some oil in floating storage.
State refiners also sold cargoes to the federal government for strategic reserve stockpiles and to avoid paying demurrage cost.