Crude oil import to India averaged 4.5 million barrels a day in January, down by around 3 per cent from the strong level seen the month before, according to the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report.

The OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) report, released on Tuesday, said crude oil imports were expected to rise in February, with the economy gaining momentum and refiners boosting runs.

Citing December data for crude oil imports by source, the report said Iraq continues to hold the top position with a share of 27 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia at 17 per cent and UAE at around 13 per cent. The report said the US also saw a strong increase, rising to fourth place with 9 per cent.

On products, the report noted that imports declined 10 per cent month-on-month in January, averaging close to 1 million barrels a day, with the decline mainly registered in LPG. Compared with the same month in 2021, inflows were about 1 per cent lower, it said.

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Product exports averaged 1.3 million barrels a day in January, declining 16 per cent from a nine-month high. Losses were seen with all major products, with the exception of fuel oil, which strengthened slightly, it said.

In its assessment of the global economy, the report said: “Looking ahead, and given the latest developments, which are still only beginning to unfold, it is clear that uncertainty will dominate in the remaining months of 2022: that is uncertainty with regard to the scope and impact of the current geopolitical turmoil, restrictions and restructuring of production and trade flows, uncertainty on to what degree this will impact inflation and oil demand, and how this will serve to accelerate the drive towards energy transition, particularly in Europe.”

Given this unprecedented level of uncertainty, the forecast for total global oil demand growth for 2022 also remains under assessment at 4.2 million barrels a day, until more clarity prevails.

The report said the safeguarding of market stability will remain paramount to both oil producing and consuming countries in light of these highly volatile times.