Soaring Russian Oil Imports Drag OPEC’s Market Share In India To Record Low

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,

Russia was India’s single largest oil supplier for a second consecutive fiscal year, as surging imports of Russian crude dragged down the share of OPEC and Middle East supply to India to a record low, Reuters reported on Friday, citing data from tanker-tracking data obtained from industry sources.

In the 2023/2024 fiscal year ended March 31, the share of Middle East oil supply of India’s oil imports slumped to as low as 46% — the lowest on record dating back to 2001-2002, according to the Reuters analysis. This compares with a 55% share of the Middle Eastern crude supply of Indian imports in the previous fiscal year 2022/2023.      

The key driver of historically low Indian imports from the Middle East was the surge in Russian crude supply to the world’s third-largest oil importer.

Russia alone accounted for around 35% of all Indian crude oil imports in 2023/2024, per the data compiled by Reuters.  

For the first time ever, India – which depends on imports for around 87% of its oil consumption – imported roughly equal volumes of OPEC and non-OPEC crude, thanks to the 57% annual surge in imports from non-OPEC producer Russia. 

Higher prices of Saudi crude and lower Kuwaiti supply as Kuwait limited exports of some grades to direct them to a new refinery also contributed to the low share of the OPEC and Middle Eastern crude of India’s imports. 

India’s crude imports remained flat in the 2023/2024 fiscal year, but the import bill of the world’s third-largest oil importer fell by almost 16% due to lower oil prices and record-high imports of cheaper Russian crude.   

While volumes were essentially unchanged, India’s spending on crude oil imports dropped by 16%, to $132.4 billion in 2023/2024, down from the $157.5 billion import bill for the 2022/2023 fiscal year, provisional data from the Indian Oil Ministry showed earlier this week.  

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