India's crude oil imports from the US have jumped by over 72% in the first five months of the current fiscal as the country looks to diversify oil purchases beyond its traditional suppliers in the Middle East, official data showed.
According to data sourced from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics, the US supplied about 4.5 million tonnes of crude oil during April to August 2019 as compared to 2.6 million tonnes oil sourced from that country in the same period a year back.
Iraq continues to be India's top crude oil supplier, meeting close to one-fourth of the country's oil needs. Iraq sold 21.24 million tonnes of crude oil to India during April to August, almost 12 per cent more than 18.99 million tonnes it had supplied in the same period of the previous fiscal.
India provisionally imported 91.24 million tonnes of crude oil in April-August 2019, down from 93.91 million tonnes a year back.
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 17.74 million tonnes of crude oil, up from 15.66 million tonnes in the previous year.
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 2 million tonnes from 13.3 million tonnes in the previous year, according to the data.
Nigeria grabbed the third spot vacated by Iran. The African nation supplied 7.17 million tonnes of crude oil in April-August, up from 5.81 million tonnes a year back. It was followed by the UAE with 6.4 million tonnes of supplies and Venezuela with 6.17 million tonnes of sales.
US supplies to India were higher than Kuwait's 4.2 million tonnes sales and 3.3 million tonnes by Mexico.
The US, which began selling crude oil to India in 2017, is fast becoming a major source.
Supplies from the US jumped more than four-fold to 6.4 million tonnes in the 2018-19 fiscal year. In 2017-18, the first year of imports from the US, the supplies were at 1.4 million tonnes.
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.- PTI