New Delhi: India's oil imports from the volatile Middle East region rose to 59 percent in the first 11 months of the last fiscal, reversing a previous decline, parliament was told on Monday.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that India imported 109.09 million tonnes (MT) of crude from 10 countries in the Middle East between April 2015 and February 2016, which was 59.22 percent of the total oil imports during the period.
In fiscal 2014-15, India had imported 109.88 MT, or 58 percent, of its total oil need of 189.44 MT, from the Middle East.
The increase was mainly on account of the rise in imports from Iraq, which saw the biggest jump from around 24.5 MT in each of the past three years, to 32.97 MT during April-February 2015-16.
Pradhan said Saudi Arabia continues to remain India's principal crude oil supplier, selling 37.10 MT in April-February period of the last financial year, which was an increase over the 35 MT supplied in 2014-15.
Iran supplied 10.58 MT of oil in the first 11 months of 2015-16, as against 10.95 million tonnes in entire 2014-15.
The minister also said Africa overtook South America to become the second biggest source of crude oil supplies during the period in question, supplying 35.69 million tonnes of oil, over the 28.10 MT imported from South America. In 2014-15 Africa had supplied 33.05 MT.
Pradhan also informed parliament that India imported nearly all of its 8.16 million tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplies during the April-February of last fiscal from the Middle East. Qatar was the largest supplier with 3.163 MT, followed by Saudi Arabia (2.24 MT), the UAE (1.49 MT) and Kuwait (848,000 tonnes).