Asia Oil Newsletter (AON)


India’s February Oil Imports Rise Amid Shifts in Global Market Dynamics

(By Energy World, 26 April 2024)

India’s total oil import bill surged to USD13.25 billion in February, marking a 10% increase from USD12.04 billion in the previous month, according to data from the ministry of commerce and industry. Russia continued to be the largest crude oil supplier to India, with shipments valued at USD3.61 billion in February, despite a 19% decrease from January’s USD 4.47 billion.

Lower GRMs Amid High Crude Price May Drag Down Performance of State-Run OMCs

(By Money Control, 26 April 2024)

State-run OMCs are expected to be impacted by the decline in Singapore gross refining margins (GRM), which have fallen below USD4 per barrel, a double whammy to companies amid elevated crude oil prices. As per analysts, OMCs would be impacted as they are already making losses on marketing of diesel. Earlier, they had high GRMs to compensate partly for losses on marketing.

HPCL Plans to Establish International Oil Trading Desk

(By Offshore Technology, 22 April 2024)

HPCL is planning to establish an international oil trading desk. The move is part of the company’s plans to secure the best prices and quality of crude oil in real time, potentially reducing import costs.  The establishment of the desk coincides with HPCL’s execution of the Visakh Refinery Modernisation Project (VRMP). The VRMP aims to upgrade and expand the refinery’s capacity from 8.33 mtpa to 15 mtpa.

Russia Squeezes Mideast, OPEC Shares in India’s Oil Market to Historic Lows

(By Deccan Herald, 19 April 2024)

Russian oil accounted for about 35% of India’s overall 4.7 million barrels per day (bpd) crude imports in the fiscal year to 31 March compared with about 22% a year ago. India imported 1.64 million bpd of Russian oil in fiscal 2023/2024, up about 57% from the previous year. In contrast, the share of Middle Eastern oil in Indian imports fell to an all-time low of 46% from 55%.


China’s Oil Demand Growth Faces Slowdown

(By Energy Intelligence, 25 April 2024)

Oil demand growth is set to decelerate as the year progresses, from 6.5% year on year in the first quarter to just 1.3% in the fourth quarter, Energy Intelligence estimates. The slowing growth comes as demand for China’s main product, diesel, may have already peaked, according to China’s largest refiner Sinopec. Gasoline demand could follow suit and peak in 2025.

Sinopec Charts Global Expansion with Refinery in Rival India’s Backyard

(By Reuters, 25 April 2024)

Sinopec is pushing for greater access to Sri Lanka’s market, where rival India is also seeking to expand its presence, as it looks to build its first fully-controlled overseas refinery, reflecting a change in the firm’s global strategy to compensate for slowing demand growth at home. Sinopec is expected to complete a feasibility study by June for a plant at the Chinese-run Hambantota port.

China’s Imports of Russian Oil Near Record High in March

(By Reuters, 23 April 2024)

Russia remained China’s top oil supplier in March, data showed on Saturday, as refiners snapped up stranded Sokol shipments. China’s imports from Russia, including supplies via pipelines and sea-borne shipments, jumped 12.5% on the year to 2.55 mmbd last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs, close to the previous monthly record of 2.56 million bpd in June 2023.

Aramco in Talks to Acquire 10% Stake in Chinese Company Hengli Petrochemical

(By Aramco, 22 April 2024)

Aramco has entered into discussions with Hengli Group regarding the potential acquisition of a 10% stake in Hengli Petrochemical, subject to due diligence and required regulatory clearances. Hengli Petrochemical owns and operates a 400,000 bpd refinery and integrated chemicals complex in Liaoning Province, China, and several plants and production facilities in Jiangsu and Guangdong Provinces.

South Korea:

South Korea Pays Less for US Crude than Saudi Arabian Barrels for 2nd Straight Month

(By S&P Global, 26 April 2024)

South Korea reduced imports of Saudi Arabian crude and boosted shipments of US cargoes for the second straight month in March because of more attractive feedstock trading economics for American barrels, as Persian Gulf-Asia tanker insurance costs rose in the wake of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East.


Singapore Fuel Oil Stockpiles Hit 20-Week Lows

(By Hindustan Times, 25 April 2024)

Singapore’s onshore fuel oil stockpiles slipped to 20-week lows after net imports declined. The inventories fell 14.6% to 18.94 million barrels in the week to 24 April, Enterprise Singapore data showed. The United States was the top origin for fuel oil imports into Singapore-landed storage, excluding cargo movements between Singapore and storage hub Malaysia. Other top origins were the UAE and Russia.


Indonesia Seeks New Oil Suppliers Amid Middle East Conflicts

(By Antara, 19 April 2024)

Indonesia is considering alternative crude oil suppliers from Africa and Latin America due to escalating conflicts in the Middle East, as per Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif. In addition to crude oil, Indonesia is seeking new sources of LPG. The country will prioritize suppliers whose shipping routes avoid conflict-prone regions.


Snapshot of Global Oil Supply and Demand: March 2024

(By Mckinsey, 24 April 2024)

Brent crude oil prices rose in March, increasing by USD1.9/bbl m-o-m to USD85.4/bbl. Prices rose due to tighter oil supplies on account of OPEC+ cuts, resilient economic growth, and continued geopolitical uncertainty. In March, OPEC+ members announced extensions of their existing production cuts of 2.2 mmbd until June 2024, which have kept the USD80+/bbl prices underpinned since July of last year.

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