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Russia India oil: India’s appetite for Russian oil reduces, share slips to lowest in 9 months as OPEC gains


OPEC’s share in India’s oil imports in October hit a 10-month high as refiners bought more crude from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after discounts narrowed for Russian oil that month, trade data showed.

Russia’s share of the Indian market in October slipped to the lowest in nine months, according to Reuters calculations based on ship tracking data from trade sources.

India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, typically relies on producers in the Middle East for most of its oil needs and has encouraged refiners to diversify to cheaper alternatives to cut costs.

The South Asian nation has emerged as the top buyer of the Russian seaborne oil sold at a discount after Western nations stopped buying from Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.

India imported about 4.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in October, up 8.4% from the previous month as refiners increased purchases to meet higher local fuel demand during the festive season, the data showed.

Imports from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates jumped to a 7-month high, up about 53% and 63% respectively in October from the previous month, the data showed. That helped lift the share of the producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to 54% in October, up from 50% in September, according to the data. India imported on average 1.56 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil in October, up 1.2% from the previous month, the data showed.

Despite the increase, Russian oil’s share in India’s October imports slipped to 33% from 35% in September.

Russia was the top oil supplier to India in April to October, the first seven months of this fiscal year to March 2024, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Higher intake of Russian oil boosted the share of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in India’s oil imports to the highest during April-October, the data showed.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Florence Tan and Louise Heavens)


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