Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the country’s largest importer of crude oil, is looking at increasing its imports from Angola in southern Africa.
At present, about five per cent of the country’s annual crude oil imports, or around nine million tonnes, come from Angola, on term contracts that have fixed tenures. “Though we have largely been importing crude from Nigeria, we wanted to sign more term contracts with Angola, instead of depending on spot (the spot market). So, we are looking at more term contracts,” a senior IOC executive who did not wish to be identified told Business Standard.
Another senior IOC executive added that as the company geared up to commission its 15-million-tonne per annum refinery at Paradip in Orissa in March 2012, it wanted to reduce its depndence on Nigeria. “We are looking at widening our supply basket,” he added.
Nigerian crude accounts for around eight per cent of India’s oil imports and is considered good due to its low sulphur content.
However, supply has often been disrupted due to strikes and other internal problems in the west African nation. Angolan crude, though acidic, can be mixed with other crude for use in refineries, said a senior Bharat Petroleum Corporation executive. “BPCL buys crude from Angola on spot. But considering its acidic nature, we have not gone for a term contract, as it may hurt plant equipment. We use it by blending it with other crude to fit our basket,” he added.
During Angolan oil minister Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos’ visit in October, the Indian government sought additional crude oil supplies to feed expanding refining capacity. In the next two years, India’s refining capacity will expand to about 4.8 million barrels per day against the present 3.7 million bpds. India is also looking at sourcing liquefied natural gas from Angola.