India’s oil imports from Africa jumped to a 10-month high in August 2020

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India’s oil imports from Africa jumped to its highest in 10 months in August 2020 as refiners switched out more expensive crude from the Middle East, Reuters reports citing shipping data.

The world’s third biggest oil importer shipped in about 3.95 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil in August, the highest volume since April, from African countries accounting for about 17.5 per cent of its total imports.

In order to raise revenue, Nigeria was supplying more oil in July than it pledged under a production cut agreement between OPEC and its allies, while Angola was scouting for a new market after the Chinese cut purchases. An internal OPEC report showed Iraq and Nigeria were the least compliant over the May-July period.

Strengthening diesel cracks prompted Indian refiners to buy African grades, while an increase in official selling prices by key gulf producers including Saudi Arabia deterred them.

India also shipped in Venezuelan oil in August after a gap of two months as Reliance Industries obtained permission from the U.S. to swap diesel for oil.

Higher intake of Nigerian and Venezuelan oil lifted the share of OPEC’s oil in India’s overall August imports to 77.6 per cent, the highest since January, from 67.2 per cent last month, the data showed.

OPEC‘s share was, however, at a record low over the April-August period, the first five months of the fiscal year.

The share of Middle Eastern oil shrank to 62.4 per cent, the lowest in three months, from 71.3 per cent last month, while that of Latin America rose to 9.7 per cent from 6.3 per cent. During the month of August 2020, Iraq remained the top oil supplier to India followed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Nigeria, which was the 8th largest supplier to India in July, rose to No.4, pushing the U.S. to fifth position. Kuwait stayed at No. 6 while Venezuela, replaced Colombia, as the seventh top supplier.

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