By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India imported 4.8 percent more oil in 2018 to a record 4.58 million barrels per day (bpd) as the country increased purchases to feed its expanded refining capacity, ship-tracking data reviewed by Reuters showed.
In December the country's oil imports totalled 4.86 million bpd, an increase of about 15 percent from the previous month and about 11 percent more than a year earlier, the data showed.
In 2018 Iraq continued to be the top supplier to India on an annual basis for a second year in a row while Saudi Arabia maintained the second position, the data showed.
Iran remained the third-biggest oil supplier to India in 2018.
India's imports from Iran in 2018 totalled about 531,000 bpd, about 13 percent higher than a year ago, the data showed.
The Middle East remained the biggest oil supplier to India, with the region's share in imports rising to about 65 percent from 63 percent a year ago. Oil supplies from Africa fell slightly, accounting for about 14.5 percent of overall imports, while supplies from Latin America declined for a fourth year, with the region's share shrinking to about 13.7 percent from 15 percent.
U.S. oil accounted for about 2.5 percent of India's oil import in 2018 compared with 0.5 percent a year earlier, the data showed.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma, editing by Louise Heavens)