*India imported a record 4.51mn b/d of crude in 2018, up 4.5% on 2017. At 2.94mn b/d, volumes from the Middle East for 2018 were also a record, though the Gulf’s market share, at around 64% has remained static for the past three years (see chart 1 and table, MEES, 22 February).
*The second half of 2018 saw the Gulf share dip to 62% amid record volumes from the USA. India took 99,000 b/d of US crude in 2018, up more than fourfold from 2017, and 154,000 b/d in the second half of the year. With state refiner Indian Oil Corp this week signing its first ever term deal to take US crude – for 60,000 b/d for the financial year beginning April 2018 – volumes are set to rise further. (CONTINUED - 500 WORDS)