India’s imports of African crude oil in October plunged to their lowest in over four years, with the world’s No.3 oil consumer increasingly turning to cheaper supplies from the United States and heavier Middle Eastern grades, ship tracking data showed.
U.S. crude production has soared more than 14 percent since mid-2016 to 9.65 million barrels per day (bpd), altering trade routes as its relatively cheap and light grades become a viable import option for Asian refiners.
“Earlier in Asia, West African oil was competing with Middle East grades, but now it has a new competitor: the U.S.,” said Ehsan Ul-Haq, director of crude oil and refined products at consultancy Resource Economist.
Surging U.S. crude output has made West Texas Intermediate (WTI)-linked American oil relatively cheap compared with the international benchmark, Brent, which has been propped up by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“In the last few months, U.S. oil gave tough competition to the African grades and the price difference (between WTI and Brent) was good enough to cover the freight,” said R Ramachandran, head of refineries at Bharat Petroleum Corp.
more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-oil/middle-east-u-s-crude-oil-curbs-indian-appetite-for-african-supplies-idUSKBN1DH0PG