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India’s July oil imports hit 1-year low on refinery maintenance

India’s July crude oil imports slumped to their lowest in a year, tanker arrival data from industry sources showed, and are likely to rebound in August as refiners are expected to boost runs after maintenance of units.

Crude imports in July fell 12.5% month-on-month to 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd), but rose 12.8% year-on-year, as refiners shut units for maintenance and cut crude imports anticipating lower fuel demand during the monsoon season.

Government data released on Tuesday showed India’s oil imports declined to about 15.02 million tonnes, about 3.5 million bpd. O/INDIA2

Data from trade sources include some cargoes that arrive in July and discharged in August, and differ from the government data.

“Some refinery maintenance in July limited Indian imports. Lower fuel demand in April-May should have led to high oil and fuel stocks,” said Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq.

Some refiners including Chennai Petroleum CHPC.NS, Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemical MRPL.NS and Indian Oil Corp’s IOC.NS Gujarat and Mathura plant had cut crude runs due to low fuel demand, a government statement said on Tuesday.

Some units were shut at Hindustan Petroleum’s HPCL.NS Mumbai and Vizag refineries, IOC’s Barauni, Haldia and Paradip plants and Bharat Petroleum’s BPCL.NS Kochi refinery for maintenance during the month, the statement said.O/INDIA1

Latin American supplies in July fell to their lowest since June last year as private refiners switched to cheaper Canadian heavy oil, the data showed.

Haq said Latin American oil was replaced by heavier Canadian grades that traded at deep discount to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures.

With Dubai-related crudes turning cheaper in comparison to Brent linked grades in July DUB-EFS-1M, Indian buyers shifted to buying more Middle East crude, Haq said.

Middle East’s share in India’s overall imports rose to 64.7% from 59% in June, the data showed.

That lifted the share of OPEC’s oil in India’s overall imports to 77.6% from 66.3% in June, although in April-July, the first four months of this fiscal year, the group’s share declined to the lowest.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Brijesh Patel; Editing by Florence Tan and Shailesh Kuber)

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