Executives from India’s Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HCPL) said on Friday that it plans to buy low-sulphur oil from the United States in the next few months for its 166,000 barrel per day (bpd) Vizag refinery in southern India, Reuters reports.
Indian refiners stepped up purchases of U.S. oil after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington in June when President Donald Trump said the United States looked forward to exporting more energy products to the world’s third-biggest oil buyer. Since then, state-run Indian Oil Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp have bought U.S. oil, as Indian refiners seek to diversify their crude import sources as arbitrage opens due to global oil supply cuts.
It means that India has become the latest Asian country to buy U.S. crude, following South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia and Taiwan, after OPEC cuts drove up prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude, or grades with a high sulphur content. HPCL’s finance chief J. Ramaswamy also said the company is evaluating if Nigerian sweet oil can be replaced with U.S. oil. He said HPCL has the appetite to import a very large crude carrier containing 2 million barrels of U.S. oil every month.