India’s crude oil imports rose to 4.86 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, the highest since December 2020, preliminary data from trade sources shows.

Oil imports from Asia’s third-largest economy rose 5% from January and rose 24% from a low in February 2021, when a refinery at Bathinda in northern India was completely closed for maintenance , according to data.

Indian refineries typically purchase oil two months before processing. Refineries are increasing runs to cash in on high margins to offset some of the losses incurred in selling fuels in the local markets.

Some Indian refineries have also postponed the shutdown of unit maintenance to take advantage of exports while meeting rising local fuel demand.

Local fuel sales in India, the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, have soared since the government lifted curbs caused by COVID-19 as infections eased.

India, the world’s third largest oil importer and consumer, supplies more than 80% of its crude oil needs and is heavily dependent on the Middle East.

However, its reliance on the Middle East is waning as refineries diversify their sources of oil imports to buy cheaper barrels from elsewhere to increase margins, a move that has reduced OPEC’s share of India’s oil imports. Last month, the share of quality grades from Canada and the United States in India’s oil imports rose 14% to a year-on-year, while purchases from the Middle East grew the least since October 2021.

Shares of African oil rose to a four-month high in February, data show.

Iraq remained the main oil supplier to India, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Kuwait emerged as India’s fourth largest supplier, replacing Nigeria, which slipped to sixth as Canada took fifth.

This post oil imports: India’s oil imports surge in February as refineries boost production

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