India imported more than half a million barrels of oil a day from the United States last month, making it the country’s second biggest supplier.
Imports from the US – the world's top producer – rose 48% to a record 545,300 bpd in February, accounting for 14% of India's overall imports last month.
The United States overtook Saudi Arabia in India's suppliers table as refiners boosted cheaper US crude purchases to record levels to offset OPEC+ supply cuts, data from trade sources showed.
The switch in supplies, triggered by lower US crude demand, coincided with Saudi Arabia's voluntary extra 1 million barrel per day (bpd) output cut, on top of an agreement by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) to maintain lower production.
In contrast, February imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 42% from January to a decade low of 445,200 bpd, the data showed. Saudi Arabia, which has consistently been one of India's top two suppliers, slipped to No4 for the first time since at least January 2006.
"US demand was weak and refineries were running at low rates so the US crude had to go somewhere, and Asia is the region which has seen rapid demand recovery," said Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq.
"China has not been taking US oil because of [the] trade problem, so India is the obvious choice," he said.
Iraq continued to be the top oil seller to India despite a 23% drop in purchases to a five-month low of 867,500 bpd, the data showed.
The UAE slipped to fifth position from third in January, while Nigeria rose to third from fifth, exporting 472,300 bpd, the most since Oct 2019.
India shipped in 3.92 million bpd of oil in February, a decline of 18% from January.
- Reporting by Reuters