India's crude imports in February rose to 4.86 million barrels per day (bpd) as refiners cranked up runs to meet the increasing demand on better refining margins, Reuters has reported.
Oil imports were up 24% from a low base in February 2021, when a refinery at Bathinda was fully shut for maintenance.
Indian refiners typically buy oil two months ahead of processing. Refiners are raising runs to cash in on high margins to offset some of the losses incurred for selling fuels in the local markets.
Some Indian refiners have also deferred maintenance shutdowns of units to gain from exports while meeting rising local fuel demand.
Local fuel sales in India, the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer has been rising since the government lifted Covid-19 curbs.
India ships in more than 80% of its crude needs and relies heavily on the Middle East.
Iraq continued to be the top oil supplier to India followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.