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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Gulf state raises stakes in battle for Indian oil market

Moscow has become New Delhi’s top crude supplier thanks to sanctions-related discounts

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Iraq lowered the price of oil supplies to India in February amid a steady flow of cheaper Russian shipments, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing preliminary official statistics.

According to the outlet, the price of crude from Iraq averaged $76.19 a barrel, compared with $78.92 in January. Data from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry reportedly shows that Russian supplies averaged $72.14 a barrel, slightly lower month-on-month.

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Meanwhile, crude from Saudi Arabia was the most expensive for Indian buyers in February, at $87.66 a barrel on average, up from $85.84 a month before.

India has decreased oil imports from the Middle East amid growing purchases from Russia. According to energy cargo tracker Vortexa, the country’s purchases of Russian oil hit an all-time high of 1.64 million barrels per day last month.

Moscow has been New Delhi’s single largest supplier of crude for six straight months, and its share of Indian oil imports reached 34% in March – double the figure for traditional top supplier Iraq.

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Iraq reportedly shipped 821,952 bpd last month, making it the third biggest supplier after Saudi Arabia, which exported 986,288 bpd.

The world’s third-largest oil consumer, India has been ramping up purchases of discounted Russian oil after Western states shunned direct supplies in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.