U.S., Middle Eastern crude lowers Indian appetite for Nigerian oil

India’s imports of Nigerian and African crude oil in October plunged to their lowest in over four years, with the world’s No.3 oil consumer increasingly turning to cheaper supplies from the United States and heavier Middle Eastern grades, Reuters reports.

U.S. crude production has soared more than 14% since mid-2016 to 9.65 million barrels per day (bpd), altering trade routes as its relatively cheap and light grades become a viable import option for Asian refiners. U.S. crude oil exports to India were unheard of until 2015, when Washington eased tight export restrictions in parallel with its growing output.

Rising steadily this year, U.S. oil in October accounted for about 3% of India’s overall imports, while the share of Nigerian and African crude fell to about 10.5%, the lowest since November, 2012, ship tracking data showed. Supply disruptions in Nigeria also dented its exports, forcing Indian refiners to seek supplies elsewhere.

Last month, the share of Middle East crude in India’s overall imports rose to its highest in about a year, making up almost 70% of all supplies, the data showed, shipping over around 2.8 million bpd. Currently India’s biggest oil supplier is Iraq, followed by Saudi Arabia. Iran replaced Nigeria as the third-biggest supplier.

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