India imported 1.224mn b/d of crude from Iraq in August, the second highest on record after January 2018’s 1.423mn b/d. For the first eight months of 2019 Iraq supplied India with 1.012mn b/d, up 4% year-on-year. Iraq remains well ahead of second place Saudi Arabia, despite the latter seeing volumes rise 12% to 865,000 b/d for January-August, with August’s 1.036mn b/d the third highest on record.

But whilst Iraq’s share of the India market is up, at 22.5% for Jan-August 2019 and 26.9% for August, India has notched up a degree of success in diversifying its crude buying away from the Middle East. Of India’s 4.50mn b/d of January-August crude imports, some 60.4% (2.72mn b/d) came from the Gulf, down from 66.1% for the year-ago period. This is still a far higher share than China’s 43.8% but well below Japan, which was reliant on the Gulf for a whopping 88.4% of January-July imports (see chart, MEES, 27 September). (CONTINUED - 222 WORDS)