NEW DELHI, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Latin American crude gained
ground in India's oil imports in September, with its share
rising to an 11-month high as buyers replaced costlier Middle
Eastern grades, data from industry sources showed.
Refiners in India, the world's third biggest oil importer
and consumer, have been diversifying their crude sources and
cutting dependence on annual oil purchase contracts to get
access to cheaper crude.
India's imports from Latin America last month rose by about
a fifth from August to around 498,000 barrels per day (bpd), the
highest since December, while those from the Middle East
declined by 12% to about 2.3 million bpd, the data showed.
Last month, the share of Middle Eastern grades declined to a
four-month low of 55.5%, while that of Latin America rose to
12%, the data showed.
This comes as India's crude imports rose 19% year on year to
4.14 million bpd in September and are set to climb higher as
refiners raise runs due to pent up demand during the festive
season and amid rising overseas fuel cracks.
"Middle Eastern producers' OSPs (official selling prices)
for September were higher compared to August OSPs," said Ehsan
Ul Haq, an analyst with Refinitiv.
At the same time, a narrower price spread between Brent and
West Texas Intermediate crude <WTCLc1-LCOc1> made crude from the
Americas cheaper, he said, while these grades also yield more
India's gasoil demand is expected to rise, mirroring the
economic revival after the lifting of COVID 19-related
The share of South American oil had been declining in Indian
crude imports after private refiners - Reliance Industries
and Nayara Energy - halted imports of Venezuelan oil
last year under pressure from U.S. sanctions.
Shipments from the Americas take about 35-50 days to reach
India, and refiners mostly buy oil about two months ahead of
Lower purchases of Middle Eastern oil dragged down the share
of OPEC's oil in India's overall imports to 66.7% from 77.5% a
year earlier. For April-September, the first half of this fiscal
year, the group's share declined to its lowest ever recorded.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma
Editing by Mark Potter)