India slashes import of Nigerian crude as refiners look to U.S.

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Nigeria’s oil supply to India has hit its lowest level for this year, with the Asian country intensifying effort to diversify its sources of the commodity, The Punch reports.

India has remained the single largest buyer of Nigerian crude oil in the past few years after the United States slashed its imports from the country on the back of the shale oil production boom. But the latest monthly report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation showed that India lost its spot as Nigeria’s biggest oil buyer to the US. According to the NNPC, India bought 7.67 million barrels in May, down from 12.49 million barrels the previous month.

Refiners in India, the world’s third biggest oil consumer, recently stepped up crude oil purchases from the US as cheaper alternatives have emerged due to a supply glut in the global markets. Indian refiners have turned their sights to crude from the US as they are keen to diversify their crude import sources as arbitrage opens due to global oil supply cuts. Rising production and supplies from the US have also made arbitrage economics feasible for Indian imports.