The United States has surpassed Kuwait to become India’s sixth largest oil supplier as it supplied 70 per cent more crude to the world’s third largest energy consumer during April-September.
According to data furnished by the oil ministry to parliamentary committee, the US supplied 5.4 million tonnes of crude oil during the first six months of 2019-20. This compared to about 3.1 million tonnes of oil sourced from the US in the same period a year back.
India began importing crude oil from the US in 2017 as it looked to diversify its import basket beyond the OPEC nations. It bought 1.9 million tonnes of crude oil from the US in 2017-18 and another 6.2 million tonnes in 2018-19, the data showed.
Iraq continues to be India’s top crude oil supplier, meeting close to one-fourth of the country’s oil needs. Iraq sold 26 million tonnes of crude oil to India during April to September.
India, which is 83 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs, bought 111.4 million tonnes of crude oil from overseas during April-September. Saudi Arabia has traditionally been India’s top oil source, but it was for the first time dethroned by Iraq in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Saudi Arabia, which has since then been relegated to the second spot, exported 20.7 million tonnes of crude oil in first six months.
India stopped importing crude oil from Iran following the reimposition of economic sanctions in May by the US, pushing down imports from the Persian Gulf nation to just 1.7 million tonnes. Iran suppllied 23.9 million tonnes in fully 2018-19 fiscal. Nigeria grabbed the third spot vacated by Iran. The African nation supplied 9.9 million tonnes of crude oil in April-September. It was followed by the UAE with 8.9 million tonnes of supplies and Venezuela with 8 million tonnes of sales.
The US supplies to India were higher than Kuwait’s 5.1 million tonnes and 4.1 million tonnes of Mexico. 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 in the subsequent years.