(Reuters) Iraq overtook Saudi Arabia for the first time to become India’s top oil supplier in the June quarter, helped by sales of discounted heavy crude that refiners have also been using to make bitumen to build roads in the world’s No.3 oil consumer.
State oil firm Saudi Aramco has traditionally been the main supplier to India and Riyadh could face pressure to deepen crude price cuts to regain market share, particularly ahead of the planned listing of Saudi Aramco.
Iraqi oil accounted for about a fifth of Indian imports in the second quarter, up from 16 percent a year ago, according to trade sources and ship-tracking data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain & Commodities Research.
The Saudi market share in India over the period fell to about 18 percent from a fifth last year, marking the first time Iraq has overtaken Saudi Arabia in an entire quarter.
Facing inroads into its market shares, Saudi Aramco this month slashed the August official selling price (OSP) of its benchmark light crude grade to Asia by the most in nine months but analysts warned it may need to make deeper cuts.
Saudi Aramco had been raising prices over the previous four months, leading some to believe that it was preparing to end an aggressive attempt to expand market share.
“If Aramco wants to raise market share then it should strike long-term deals or offer crude at more attractive price than competitors,” said Ehsaan Ul Haq, a senior analyst at U.K.-based consultancy KBC Energy.