NEW DELHI, May 1: Iraq has for the second year in a row become India’s top crude oil supplier, meeting more than a fifth of the country’s oil needs in 2018-19 fiscal year.
According to data sourced from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, Iraq sold 46.61 million tonne of crude oil to India during April 2018 and March 2019, 2 per cent more than 45.74 million tonne it had supplied in 2017-18 fiscal.
India provisionally imported 207.3 million tonne of crude oil in 2018-19, down from 220.4 million tonne in the previous financial year.
Saudi Arabia has traditionally been India’s top oil source, but it was for the first time dethroned by Iraq in 2017-18 fiscal year.
In 2018-19, Saudi exported 40.33 million tonne of crude oil, up from 36.16 million tonne of oil sold in the previous year.
While India stopped importing crude oil from Iran following reimposition of economic sanctions this month by the US, the Persian Gulf nation was the third largest crude oil supplier to India.
It sold 23.9 million tonne of crude in 2018-19, up from 22.59 million tonne in the previous year, according to the data.
UAE topped Venezuela to become India’s fourth-largest crude supplier. It sold 17.49 million tonne of crude oil to India, just a tad higher than 17.32 million tonne of oil coming from Venezuela.
In 2017-18, Venezuela had supplied 18.34 million tonne and UAE 14.29 million tonne.
Nigeria was the next biggest supplier with 16.83 million tonne of exports in 2018-19, down from 18.11 million tonne in the previous year. Kuwait supplied 10.78 million tonne of oil and Mexico another 10.28 million tonne.
The US, which began selling crude oil to India in 2017, is fast becoming a major source. Supplies from the US jumped more than four-fold to 6.4 million tonne in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
In 2017-18, the first year of imports from the US, the supplies were at 1.4 million tonne.
Iran was India’s second biggest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11, but western sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme relegated it to the seventh spot in subsequent years.
In 2013-14 and 2014-15, India bought 11 million tonne and 10.95 million tonne, respectively, from it. Sourcing from Iran increased to 12.7 million tonne in 2015-16, giving it the sixth spot.
In the following year, Iranian supplies jumped to 27.2 million tonne to catapult it to the third spot.
India is 80 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs.
Easing of western sanctions in 2015 had led to the Indian refiners raising their purchase from Iran.
Kuwait, which was the third largest supplier in 2013-14, has steadily slipped, with supplies dropping by 16 per cent in 2018-19. It had supplied 17.9 million tonne crude in 2014-15, which came down to 11 million tonne in 2015-16 and 9.8 million tonne in 2016-17. Supplies from Kuwait, however, rose to 12.85 million tonne in 2017-18. (PTI)