India’s crude oil import bill nearly doubled in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which ended on 31 March, as the Ukraine war pushed international oil prices to record levels.

The country spent $119.2 billion in that financial year, data released by India’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC) claimed.

The nation’s oil import bill had been slightly more than $62 billion in the 2020-2021 financial year, Upstream understands.

India, the world’s third-largest oil consuming nation, imports more than 85% of its crude oil requirements.

Imports for the most recent fiscal year zoomed past 1.5 billion barrels, up from 1.4 billion barrels in the previous 12 months, but still marginally lower than pre-pandemic levels, the PPAC said.

International oil prices have been in bullish territory since January, routinely trading above the $100 per barrel mark, after touching $140 per barrel in March.

Fiscal impact

A higher crude import bill is expected to dent the macroeconomic parameters for the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who earlier laid out an ambitious target to reduce the nation’s crude imports by 10%.

India’s domestic oil production continues to gradually decline, leading to higher oil imports.

India produced about 217 million barrels of crude in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, slightly lower than the previous year’s production of about 223 million barrels.

India’s import bill for liquefied natural gas also increased — up to $11.9 billion during the 2021-2022 financial year and significantly higher than the $7.9 billion-worth of LNG imports during the previous 12 months, the PPAC data said.

Global LNG prices have spiralled during the past few months, resulting in more costly imports by Indian companies.

While several Indian gas importers, including Petronet LNG, have long-term contracts linked to crude prices, companies are increasingly including a mix of short-term and spot contracts along with their longer-term commitments.