Vastavam web: India will tomorrow receive its first ever shipment of US crude oil when a very large crude carrier (VLCC) docks at Paradip port in Odisha.Indian Oil Corp (IOC) in early July booked the first US cargo, opening floodgates that saw other state-owned refiners including Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) rush to buy US crude oil.
The Indian government has encouraged state-controlled refiners to buy US and Canadian crude from the US Gulf coast as it looks at cheaper alternatives that have emerged due to global supply glut.A US energy official had on Friday stated that IOC and BPCL have committed to buy eight shiploads of US oil by March 2018.While in the first purchase IOC is importing 1.6 million barrels of high sulphur crude Mars from the US and 400,000 barrels of Western Canadian Select oil, in the second it has bought 1.9 million barrels of US crude, half of it being shale oil, he said.
“We have bought 950,000 barrels of light sweet Eagle Ford shale oil and 950,000 barrels of heavy sour Mars crude in the second tender,” he said.Buying US crude has become attractive for Indian refiners after the differential between Brent (the benchmark crude or marker crude that serves as a reference price for buyers in western world) and Dubai (which serves as a benchmark for countries in the east) has narrowed.
Even after including the shipping cost, buying US crude is cost competitive to Indian refiners, an industry official said.
The IOC deal cames within weeks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June-end visit to the US when President Donald Trump talked of his country looking to export more energy products to India.BPCL has bought two of the US cargoes — 500,000 barrels each of Mars and Poseidon varieties of medium-to-high-sulphur crude for delivery to its Kochi refinery between September 26 and 15 October and 1 million barrels of US WTI Midland sweet crude for delivery in October.
HPCL too has made its first purchase of the US oil, buying 1 million barrels of Mars crude from trading firm Trafigura for delivery in December at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.Bharat-Oman Refineries Ltd (BORL) has also bought 1 million barrels of Mars crude from Trafigura for November 16– 25 arrival.