Reversing a two-year declining trend, India’s reliance on the volatile Middle East region for meeting its crude oil needs has risen in 2015-16, with quantum jump in buying from Iraq. India imported 109.09 million tonnes of crude from the 10 nations in the Middle East during first 11 months of 2015-16 fiscal, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told Lok Sabha here. The region supplied 59.22 percent of the total 184.21 million tonnes of crude oil imported by India during April, 2015 and February, 2016. In the entire 2014-15 fiscal, India had imported 109.88 million tonnes or 58 percent of its entire oil need of 189.44 million tonnes, from the Middle East. The reliance on the Middle East in that year had declined from 61 percent in the previous 2013-14 fiscal when the region supplied a total of 115.86 million tonnes of oil. In 2012-13, the Middle East accounted for 62.44 percent of oil supplies. In a written reply to a question, Pradhan said Saudi Arabia continues to remain India’s number one crude oil supplier, selling 37.10 million tonnes of oil in April-February period of the last fiscal. Saudi supplies were up from 35 million tonnes in 2014-15. Imports from Iraq however saw the biggest jump – rising from about 24.5 million tonnes level of the past three years to 32.97 million tonnes – in April-February of 2015-16. Iran sold 10.58 million tonnes of oil in the first 11 months of 2015-16, as against 10.95 million tonnes in the full 2014-15 fiscal. Import from Iran in 2013-14 was 11 million tonnes and in 2012-13 it was 13.14 million tonnes. Pradhan said supplies from Kuwait has however dipped to 10.13 million tonnes from 17.85 million tonnes in 2014-15. Imports from the UAE also dipped to 14.03 million tonnes from 16.11 million tonnes. Africa overtook South America to become the second biggest source of crude oil supplies during April-February. It supplied 35.69 million tonnes of oil, ahead of 28.10 million tonnes coming from Latin America. In 2014-15, South America had supplied 34.46 million tonnes with Venezuela selling 24.4 million tonnes. In April-February 2015-16, Venezuelan supplies fell to 21.29 million tonnes. Africa had in 2014-15 supplied 33.05 million tonnes of oil to India, bulk of it coming from Nigeria (17.82 million tonnes). In first 11 months of 2015-16, Nigeria sold 21.71 million tonnes of crude oil to India. Besides crude oil, India also imported almost all of its 8.16 million tonnes LPG from the Middle East region. Qatar was the largest supplier with 3.163 million tonnes in April-February 2015-16, followed by Saudi Arabia (2.24 million tons), the UAE (1.49 million tonnes) and Kuwait (848,000 tonnes), he said. India imported 8.3 million tonnes of LPG in 2014-15, almost all of it from the Middle East.
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