India's crude oil imports rise to highest level in at least 7 years

FILE PHOTO: A worker fills diesel in a car as he holds 500 Indian rupee banknotes at a fuel station in Kolkata, India, November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

(Reuters) - India’s crude oil imports in October rose to their highest level in at least more than seven years, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry showed on Tuesday.

Crude imports in October climbed 10.5 percent from a year earlier to 21.02 million tonnes, the highest monthly import figure in PPAC data going back to April 2011.

Imports rose as many refiners resumed purchases after maintenance of units.

In October, India’s oil imports from Africa surged to more than a three-year high.

In India, the world’s third-largest consumer, oil imports typically rise from October due to higher fuel demand in the festival season and as industrial activity picks up after months of monsoon rains.

India is among the eight countries to have received a waiver from the United States to continue crude oil imports from Iran without penalty after sanctions were reimposed on Tehran.

India’s oil imports from Iran fell by about 12 percent to about 466,000 bpd in October. The country’s overall purchases from Iran in the April-October period, the first seven months of the current fiscal year, rose 34 percent.

Meanwhile, imports of oil products declined nearly 20 percent and exports fell more than 4 percent, the data showed.

Reporting by Sumita Layek and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman and Paul Simao