India is buying up large amounts of discounted Russian oil, reordering its list of top suppliers.
Data shows that OPEC members saw their share of India’s oil market slip to 59% last year, according to Reuters.
OPEC’s planned production cuts could further dent its market share in India and Asia more broadly.
India has been a big customer of Russian oil suppliers since the invasion of Ukraine, and its appetite for cheap crude from the heavily sanctioned country has slashed imports from OPEC nations to their lowest level in 22 years.
Data compiled by Reuters shows that Russia overtook Iraq for the first time as India’s top oil supplier, and also pushed Saudi Arabia to the number three spot.
India brought in about 1.6 million barrels a day of Russian crude, accounting for 23% of its 4.65 million barrels per day. OPEC members saw their share of India’s oil market slip to 59% last year.
Reuters’ analysis comes as other data shows that India and China are buying up so much discounted Russian oil that the country is shipping more crude than before Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February last year. The two countries account for about 90% of Russia’s oil trade, according to commodities research firm Kpler.
Analysts at the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air also say that some countries that have boosted their imports of cheap Russia oil are laundering it for sale to Western countries that have sanctioned trade with Moscow.
Meanwhile, as India’s imports of Russian oil rise, OPEC risks further reducing its market share in the country, in addition to Asia broadly.
Sources told Reuters that as OPEC+ countries push forward with planned production cuts, there’s a chance that elevated levels of Russian oil on the market will spread throughout Asia.
India’s overall crude oil imports jumped 9% last year as refiners in the country looked to meet soaring demand.
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