India's crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia plunged by 34% in July just as the top global exporter started reducing its production by 1 million barrels per day (bpd) on top of its cuts within OPEC+, as per data from cargo tracker Vortexa.

India imported 484,000 bpd from Saudi Arabia in July, down from 734,000 bpd in June, according to the data. Russia was once again the top supplier of crude to India. At 1.9 million bpd, Russian deliveries exceeded supply from Saudi Arabia and Iraq combined.

Commenting on global crude oil flows in July, Jay Maroo, Head of Market Intelligence & Analysis (MENA) at Vortexa, wrote last week,

“Unlike China, India's imports remained almost unchanged at 4.5mbd in July but the nation continued to reduce intake of Middle Eastern grades (down 170kbd m-o-m)”

In the previous month, India's crude oil imports from Russia in June were the cheapest since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, during which time the world's third-largest oil importer became a key Russian oil customer alongside China.

The average cost of a barrel of Russian crude that landed at India's ports in June was $68.17. To compare, India paid $70.17 on average per barrel of Russian crude in May and $100.48 a barrel in June 2022.

India's crude oil imports from Russia could be headed to a more significant decline in August, to the lowest since January this year, according to Kpler.

In July, crude imports from Russia into India, the world's third-largest oil importer, dropped to 2.09 million barrels per day (bpd), down from 2.11 million bpd in the previous month, Viktor Katona, head of crude analysis at Kpler, told Bloomberg last week.

This month, India's crude oil imports could further decline and fall to 1.6 million bpd, Katona added. If the projection is correct, India's imports of Russian oil in August could drop to their lowest level since January 2023.