Iraq has been India’s largest supplier of crude oil for the last three months, according to shipping data from Bloomberg.
This means that OPEC’s number-two has dethroned the cartel’s leader—Saudi Arabia—which has been the top supplier in the world’s fastest-growing market in terms of oil consumption.
Iraq produced almost a quarter of the oil India imported last month, or 23%, exporting at a daily rate of 1mn barrels. That is compared to a monthly average export market share of 19% for the prior four months.
Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, supplied 17% of the crude India bought in May.
Iraq has consistently shown signs of an expansion strategy for its oil industry, despite its participation in the OPEC agreement for oil output reduction. While Iraq has not been fully compliant to the production caps, Saudi Arabia has been over-compliant – a fact that contributed to Saudi Arabia losing market share in India.
Regardless of the OPEC agreement, Iraq has been exporting crude oil at a breakneck pace, and in May, its crude oil exports hit the highest rate of the last six months at 101.13mn barrels, or an average 3.26mn bpd daily. India absorbed close to a third of that total.
India is not the only promising destination for Iraqi oil. Tanker tracking data from Bloomberg suggests that Iraq is also exporting more oil to the United States – again besting Saudi Arabia, which pledged to cut exports to its North American client to draw down crude oil inventories in the United States.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Iraq loaded 12mn barrels of crude to be shipped to the US in just the first 13 days of June. This is twice as much as what Iraq shipped to the world’s number-two consumer during the comparable periods of April and May.