January 10, 2024 [Business Today]- Two of India’s top oil refiners are reportedly eyeing Saudi crude oil imports after the kingdom cut the official selling price of its key export grade for February to the lowest in 27 months.
Indian Oil Corp, the country’s top refiner, and Bharat Petroleum Corp, are looking at lifting an additional 1 million barrels of oil each from Saudi Aramco in February.
Saudi Aramco typically notifies Asian buyers of their monthly crude allocations by the 10th of every month.
IOC is seeking more oil from Saudi Arabia and West Africa partly as it is facing problems in buying Russian light sweet crude Sokol because of challenges in payments, a Reuters report said. India’s oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri however said the decline in India’s import of Russian oil was due to unattractive prices and not payment issues.
India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, has been gorging on Russian crude, sold at a discount after western nations shunned purchases from Moscow.
That led to Russia becoming top oil supplier to India, knocking Iraq and Saudi Arabia to second and third place.
Washington last month sanctioned ships and vessel operators for the sale of Russian oil at above the $60-per barrel cap set by the Group of Seven nations and tightened rules, including heightened scrutiny by banks and service providers to ensure that cargoes do not breach the price cap.
IOC used to receive 6-7 cargoes of Sokol oil every month under its annual deal with Rosneft.
The refiner may ask for additional supplies under its term deals with West African producers Nigeria and Angola to make up for loss in Russian oil supply, the Reuters report said.
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