NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Latin American crude gained ground in India’s oil imports in September, its share peaking in 11 months as buyers replaced pricier grades from the Middle East , showed data from industrial sources.
Refiners in India, the world’s third largest importer and consumer of oil, have diversified their sources of crude and reduced reliance on annual oil purchase contracts to gain access to cheaper crude.
Indian imports from Latin America last month increased by about a fifth from August to about 498,000 barrels per day (bpd), the highest since December, while those from the Middle East rose. declined 12% to about 2.3 million bpd, according to the data.
Last month, the Middle East’s share of ratings fell to its lowest level in four months at 55.5%, while that of Latin America fell to 12%, the data showed.
Chart: Share of different regions in India’s oil imports:
It comes as India’s crude imports rose 19% year-on-year to 4.14 million bpd in September and is expected to increase as refiners increase cycles due to pent-up demand during the season. of the holidays and in the midst of rising fuel cracks overseas.
The OSPs (official selling prices) of Middle Eastern producers for September were higher than the OSPs for August, said Ehsan Ul Haq, analyst at Refinitiv.
At the same time, a narrower price differential between Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude has made crude from the Americas cheaper, he said, while those grades also produce more diesel.
India’s diesel demand is expected to increase, reflecting the economic recovery following the lifting of restrictions related to COVID 19.
South American oil’s share had declined in Indian crude imports after private refiners – Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy – halted Venezuelan oil imports last year under pressure from US sanctions.
Shipments from the Americas take about 35 to 50 days to reach India, and refiners mostly buy oil about two months before processing.
Lower Middle East oil purchases pushed OPEC’s share of oil in India’s overall imports to 66.7% from 77.5% a year earlier. For April-September, the first half of this fiscal year, the group share fell to its lowest ever recorded.
Chart: India-OPEC OPEC’s share of India’s oil imports drops to a record low:
Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Mark Potter
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