Iraq becomes India’s biggest oil supplier

Iraq has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become India's top crude oil supplier, meeting more than a fifth of the country's oil needs in the current financial year.

Created On: Mar 6, 2018 16:59 ISTModified On: Mar 6, 2018 17:01 IST
Image: PTI

Iraq has become India’s biggest crude oil supplier by overtaking Saudi Arabia with a wide margin in this current financial year. Iraq supplied 38.9 million tonnes (MT) of oil, which was more than 20% of country’s oil needs.

In the first 10 months (April 2017-January 2018) of the current fiscal year, Saudi Arabia supplied 30.9 MT of crude oil to India.

India’s oil import

India imported 184.4 MT of crude oil during the period of April 2017-January 2018 as compared to 213.9 MT in the entire 2016-17 FY, and 202.8 MT in 2015-16.

India is 80% dependent on imports to meet its oil needs.

India’s dependence on the Middle East for its crude oil needs has increased from 58% in 2014-15 to 63.7% in the April-January period of this fiscal.

Out of 189.4 MT of total crude imports in 2014-15, India had imported 109.9 MT from the Middle East region. In the current fiscal so far, the Middle East has accounted for 117.5 MT of crude oil supplies to India.


Saudi Arabia traditionally has been India’s top oil source, but this financial year Iraq replaced it with a huge margin.

Iran continued to be the third largest supplier selling 18.4 MT during April-January, despite India cut down the imports over delays in award of contract for a gas field development.

Iran has occupied the third position in oil supply consistently for the second time. However, Iran was the second largest supplier of crude oil after Saudi Arabia till 2010-11.

Subsequently, it slipped down to 7th spot post western sanctions over its suspected nuclear programme. India bought 11 MT and 10.95 MT in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively from it. It reached to the sixth spot with 12.7 MT in 2015-16.

In the following year, the Iranian supplies jumped to 27.2 MT to catapult it to the third spot.

West Asia too contributes significantly to India’s import of crude oil. Venezuela, with 15.5 MT during April-January period,  is India’s 4th largest supplier, followed by Nigeria with 14.9 MT.

The easing of Western sanctions in 2015 has led to the Indian refiners raising their purchase from Iran. Kuwait, which was the third largest supplier in 2013-14, has steadily slipped, supplying just 10.2 MT in the first 10 months of the current fiscal. It had in 2014-15 supplied 17.9 MT crude, which came down to 11 MT in 2015-16 and 9.8 MT in 2016-17.


Trade deficit

Saudi Arabia and Iraq are among the top five countries with which India has negative bilateral trade balance. Other countries in top five are China, Switzerland and South Korea.

With Saudi Arabia and Iraq, India has a deficit of  -7.3% and -5% respectively due to crude oil imports.

With USA, UAE, Bangladesh, Nepal and UK, India has a trade surplus.

Source: PTI

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