While Iraq, Venezuela and Kuwait are gaining ground in India’s crude oil energy basket, Iran is consistently losing its position.

During the April-September period of the current fiscal, Indian refiners imported 85.959 million tonnes of crude oil. According to sources, the import numbers did not include the quantum of HPCL-Mittal’s refinery. Almost 62.6 per cent of this requirement came from West Asia, with Saudi Arabia being the largest supplier with 18.3 per cent of the total supplies.

But, Iran which once was the second largest supplier of crude oil and had lost its position to Iraq last year (2011-12) continues to slip further down in the pegging order, estimates show.

Iraq met almost 13 per cent of the total requirement during the period, followed by Venezuela (10.3 per cent) and Kuwait (9.8 per cent). Kuwait was closely followed by the UAE which met 9.2 per cent of the total requirement during the period.

According to industry observers, Venezuela and Iraq are the ones to watch out for. The two have emerged as the next major suppliers for the country’s two big domestic refiners — Indian Oil Corporation and Reliance Industries.

Observers say that if the trend continues then the total import from Iran for the fiscal may just be close to 12 million tonnes or even lower.

For the fiscal 2011-12, the country had imported 171.73 million tonnes of crude. This is expected to go up to 181-185 million tonnes, with new refineries being added.

richa.misrha@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 18, 2012)
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