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India Reduces Oil Imports from Russia and Saudi Arabia in Response to High Prices

Recent reports based on tanker data have revealed a significant shift in India’s oil import patterns during July. The country’s crude oil imports from Russia saw a decline, and oil imports from Saudi Arabia experienced their lowest levels in two and a half years. This trend is attributed to various factors, including decisions made by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, collectively known as OPEC Plus, to curb production.

Both China and India, the world’s top two and three oil importers respectively, made substantial cuts to their oil imports from Russia and Saudi Arabia during July. This adjustment came as a response to the surge in oil prices, which was driven by reduced production and exports by these two oil-producing nations.

According to the report, Saudi Arabia opted to extend its voluntary oil production cuts by an additional 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from July to September. Concurrently, Russia also took steps to lower its exports by 500,000 bpd in August. These actions were in alignment with an agreement forged among OPEC Plus members aimed at reducing the overall supply of oil and thereby boosting prices.

India’s total crude oil imports experienced a notable contraction of 5.2%, reaching 4.4 million bpd in July compared to the preceding month. A contributing factor to this decline is the monsoon season, during which many oil refineries halt operations for maintenance.

Specifically, Russia’s oil imports to India registered a drop of 5.7%, amounting to 1.85 million bpd. Furthermore, India’s imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia experienced a substantial decrease of 26%, reaching a level of 470,000 barrels per day.

As a nation that relies on imports for over 80% of its total oil demand, India’s strategic adjustments in its import sources hold considerable significance. Despite the changes, Russia maintained its position as the primary oil supplier to India during July, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

This shift in import patterns underscores the intricate dynamics of the global oil market. The decisions made by major oil-producing nations within OPEC Plus have far-reaching implications for import-dependent nations like India. As the market continues to navigate these fluctuations, policymakers, industries, and consumers alike will need to monitor these developments closely, given the profound influence that oil prices hold over economic stability and growth.

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