Crude oil cargoes that recently loaded in Colombia and Ecuador are heading to India, in what could be the first such deliveries in over a year amid a recent decline in heavy crude availability from major supplier Venezuela.

India is currently expected to receive two 1mn bl crude shipments directly from Colombia next month, according to latest Vortexa tracking. These are aboard Suezmax tankers Achilleas and Diamondway, which are due to arrive at the beginning and end of August, respectively.

From Ecuador meanwhile, the Suezmax SKS Skeena departed the Ocp terminal in Esmeraldas in mid-July and is presently signalling Sikka with an estimated arrival date in early September. India last imported Ecuadorian crude around a year ago, observed flows showed.

Grades such as Ecuador’s Napo and Colombia’s Castilla blend—heavy sour grades with around 19°API—can compete with Venezuelan ones such as the flagship Merey export blend and diluted crude oil (DCO).

India’s crude imports from Venezuela were around 300,000 b/d in January-June, down from some 380,000 b/d the same time last year, prompting refiners to raise sour crude intake from the Mideast Gulf, as well as widen the search to elsewhere in the Latin American region. India’s imports from Venezuela were just over 200,000 b/d in June but are expected to be higher in July and August.  

Aside from the potential Ecuadorian and Colombian deliveries, India recently took in a rarer cargo of Argentine crude, after the MT Dolviken delivered a cargo of heavy sweet Escalante crude to New Mangalore in early July. 

From the same region, India will also continue to receive volumes from regular suppliers Mexico and Brazil in August.