Gulf state raises stakes in battle for Indian oil market

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According to preliminary government statistics, Iraq reduced the price of oil deliveries to India in February, despite a steady flow of cheaper Russian cargoes.

According to the site, the price of Iraqi crude averaged $76.19 per barrel in February, down from $78.92 in January. According to data from India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Russian supplies averaged $72.14 per barrel, a modest decrease month on month.

Meanwhile, Saudi oil was the most expensive for Indian purchasers in February, at $87.66 per barrel on average, up from $85.84 the previous month.

India has reduced its Middle Eastern oil imports while increasing its purchases from Russia. Last month, the country’s purchases of Russian oil reached an all-time high of 1.64 million barrels per day, according to energy cargo tracker Vortexa.

Moscow has been New Delhi’s sole crude supplier for six months, and its proportion of Indian oil imports reached 34% in March, more than doubling the amount for longtime top supplier Iraq.

Iraq allegedly sold 821,952 bpd last month, ranking third after Saudi Arabia, which exported 986,288 bpd.

India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, has increased its imports of discounted Russian oil after Western powers avoided direct shipments in response to Moscow’s military incursion in Ukraine.