Shipments from the Middle East and Africa reportedly drop to their lowest level in 22 years
India imported record volumes of Russian oil in April, while reducing the share of crude from the Middle East and Africa to their lowest levels in more than two decades, Reuters reported citing trading sources.
Exports of Russian petroleum to India surged by 4.4% on a monthly basis to 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) in April compared to 928,400 bpd imported by New Delhi from Iraq and 723,800 bpd delivered from Saudi Arabia, the figures showed.
Asia's third biggest economy, which is also the world's third-largest oil importer and consumer, ramped up oil purchases after Russia rerouted supplies to Asia in response to Western sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia remained the top oil supplier to the South Asian nation for the sixth straight month in April, followed by Iraq, traditionally India's top supplier, and Saudi Arabia.
Growing oil imports from Russia also pushed up the share of crude from Commonwealth of Independent States members, including Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, to 43.6% of an overall 4.81 million bpd imported by India last month. At the same time, Middle Eastern supplies, which traditionally made up the majority New Delhi's oil imports, fell to 44%, while African crude accounted for just 3.4%, the outlet said.
"Indian refiners have cut their spot purchases of Middle Eastern and West African grades as we are getting supply of Russian oil at lower prices," an official from an Indian refinery told Reuters.
While OPEC's share of Indian oil imports is on the wane, Russian supplies are likely to remain high after the country's largest oil producer Rosneft and India's top refiner Indian Oil Corp signed an agreement in March to substantially increase oil supplies and diversify oil grades delivered to India.
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