Mideast share of India's September oil imports falls to four-month low - sources

Nidhi Verma
·2-min read
A boy walks past an oil tanker train stationed at a railway station in Ghaziabad
A boy walks past an oil tanker train stationed at a railway station in Ghaziabad

By Nidhi Verma

Middle East producers' share of India's market fell to a four-month low in September while that of Africa rose to one year high, according to data obtained from industry sources.

Last month, India's oil imports from its top oil supplier Iraq declined by about 18% from August, the data showed, as OPEC's second biggest producer deepened output cuts to compensate for overproduction.

Lower purchases from Iraq and other regional producers squeezed Middle East producers' share of India's September market to about 61%, according to the data.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+ are cutting output by about 7.7 million barrels per day (bpd) until end-2020 to support global prices. The group had asked Iraq to make additional compensation cuts until December.

"Middle Eastern exports were reduced in September due to OPEC+ cuts," said Ehsan Ul Haq, analyst with Refinitiv.

"Iraq was under pressure to reduce supplies further due to higher exports in the past."

India's overall imports in September totalled 3.48 million bpd, a decline of about 9% from a year earlier and 12% from August, the data showed.

African oil accounted for 21% of India's imports last month, the highest monthly share since September 2019.

Low freight rates and a more competitive Brent benchmark compared with Middle East's Dubai supported India's African oil purchases, Haq said.

India skipped oil imports from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries in September for the first time in 3-1/2 years, the data showed. Latin American crude's share also fell to 8% from about 10% in August.

Lower imports from Middle East pulled down OPEC's overall share in India's September oil imports to record low of about 74% in April-September, the first six months of this fiscal year, the data shows.