India’s crude imports rose to 4.86 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, the highest since December 2020, according to preliminary data from trade sources, as refineries rounded out refining margins to meet growing demand for the best.
Oil imports from Asia’s third-largest economy rose 5% from January and rose 24% from a low base in February 2021, when a refinery in North India’s Bathing was completely shut down for maintenance, data show.
Indian refineries usually buy it two months before the oil is processed. Refinery races at high margins are on the rise to offset some of the losses from fuel sales in local markets.
Some refineries in India have also delayed unit shutdowns to profit from exports to meet local fuel demand.
Sales of local fuels in India, the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, have risen since the government removed restrictions on COVID-19 as infections eased.
India, the world’s third largest oil importer and consumer, supplies more than 80 percent of its gross needs and relies heavily on the Middle East.
However, its dependence on the Middle East is declining as refineries diversify oil import sources elsewhere to increase margins for buying cheaper barrels, a move that has reduced OPEC’s share of Indian oil imports.
Last month, the share of ratings in Canada and the United States rose by 14% year-on-year in Indian oil imports, with purchases in the Middle East rising the least since October 2021.
Africa’s oil share rose to a four-month high in February, data show.
Iraq continued to be India’s largest oil supplier to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Kuwait emerged as India’s fourth largest supplier, replacing Nigeria, which moved up to No. 6 as Canada took 5th place.