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India's oil imports from Venezuela hit lowest in over five years

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Nidhi Verma

(Reuters) - Indian imports of from have fallen to their lowest levels in over half a decade, shipping and industry data showed, as a severe economic and political crisis hits crude output in the South American OPEC member.

India's imports from averaged around 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) between November, 2017 and February, 2018, a drop of about 20 percent from the same period a year earlier and the lowest such level since 2012, according to data from shipping sources and industry.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak with media.

Venezuela's production plunged to the lowest in decades last year, with the country racked by quadruple-digit inflation, a lack of hard currency and a crippling recession.

The five-year average of Venezuelan to is around 440,000 bpd, the shipping and industry data showed.

India's supplies continue to be dominated by members from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with and prominent.

Key for Venezuela's drop-off in shipments to are supply obligations to other countries which, amid its overall declining output, leave fewer cargoes available for sale elsewhere.

"is obliged to supply barrels to and to pay back debts, so not too much is left for others, mainly India," said Ehsan Ul-Haq, director of and refined products at

The sharp Venezuelan declines to mark a turn-around of a previous trend.

Venezuelan shipments to surged from May, 2012, when supplies from hit insurance and hurdles caused by western sanctions against Tehran's nuclear programme.

However, boosted purchases from after the lifting of sanctions in 2016, while a destructive cocktail of insufficient investments, payment delays to suppliers, potential U.S. sanctions and a brain drain have hammered Venezuela's industry.

"Why should buy from a country which is too far (away)?... Plenty of is easily available from nearby nations like and Iran," said Haq.

(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by and Henning Gloystein)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 13 2018. 13:18 IST