Iraq unseats Saudi Arabia as top crude supplier to India for third month
* India's Sept Saudi oil imports down 30 pct from Aug
* Imports from Saudi up 19 pct in April-Sept, Iraq up 36 pct
* India's overall oil imports down 7.4 pct in Sept vs Aug
By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Iraq overtook Saudi Arabia as the top crude exporter to India in September for the third time in 2015, according to tanker data obtained by Reuters, as the two biggest OPEC producers battle for market share in leading Asian buyers.
Saudi Arabia also lost its top spot in China last month, with Russia overtaking the world's biggest crude exporter as the main supplier for the second time this year. Traders attributed the shift to a hike in Saudi's official selling price (OSP) of crude.
India imported 640,300 barrels per day (bpd) of oil from Saudi Arabia last month, about 30 percent lower than in August and the weakest in a year, the data obtained by Reuters and compiled by Thomson Reuters Oil Analytics showed. The figure was still up 12.8 percent from a year ago.
While Saudi's market share in India is shrinking, Iraq is expanding its hold over one of the world's fastest-growing markets by offering attractive pricing.
"Saudi sells oil at OSP under term deals, while Iraqi oil is also sold in the spot market. And in an oversupplied market you often find Iraqi barrels trading at discounts to the OSP," said Ehasan Ul-Haq, senior analyst at London-based consultancy KBC Energy Economics. Continuación...