Iraq overtakes Saudi Arabia as India's top oil supplier: Dharmendra Pradhan

Iraq has overtaken Saudi Arabia for the first time to become India's top crude oil supplier in the current fiscal, helped by sales of discounted heavy crude, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia traditionally has been India's top oil source but in the April-October period of 2017-18, Iraq dethroned it, supplying 25.8 million tonnes (MT) of oil.

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Pradhan said Saudi Arabia supplied 21.9 MT of crude oil in the first seven months of 2017-18.

For the second year in a row, Iran continues to be the third largest supplier to India by selling 12.5 MT oil during the period.

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 to the 7th spot in the subsequent years. In 2013-14 and 2014-15, India bought 11 MT and 10.95 MT respectively from it.

Sourcing from Iran increased to 12.7 MT in 2015-16, giving it the sixth spot. In the following year, the Iranian supplies jumped to 27.2 MT to catapult it to the third spot, Pradhan said.

Venezuela is India's fourth largest supplier with 11.5 MT during the period, followed by Nigerial with 10.6 MT, Pradhan said.

India is 80 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs. Easing of western sanctions in 2015 has led to the Indian refiners raising their purchase from Iran.

Kuwait, which was the third largest supplier in 2013-14 has steadily slipped, supplying just 6.4 MT in the first seven months of the current fiscal. It had in 2014-15 supplied 17.9 MT crude, which came down to 9.8 MT in 2016-17, Pradhan said.

He said India imported 125.8 MT of crude oil in the April -October period for USD 45.1 billion. In 2016-17, crude oil imports stood at 213.9 MT, costing USD 70.2 billion.

In 2015-16, India imported 202.9 MT crude oil at USD 64 billion.

Pradhan said India's dependence on the Middle East for its crude oil needs has increased from 58 per cent in 2014-15 to 63.5 per cent in the April-October period of this fiscal.

India had imported 109.9 MT out of 189.4 MT of total crude imports in 2014-15 from the region. In the current fiscal so far, the Middle East has accounted for 79.9 MT of crude oil supplies from India.

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