State-run Indian Oil Corp has bought around 600,000 barrels of Malaysian Labuan crude in a tender for August loading, traders and sources close to the deal said on Friday.
This is the first time in seven months that the refiner has bought regional crude.
IOC also bought around 2 million barrels of August-loading West African crude in a parallel tender, taking one million barrels of Angolan Girassol crude and one million barrels of Nigerian Brass River, the sources added.
Shell was the seller of the two cargoes of West African crude, traders said. The seller of the Labuan cargo had yet to emerge.
IOC buys little regional crude through tenders, as it is usually more expensive than West African crude.
It bought Asia-Pacific crude in three tenders in a row in the fourth quarter of 2006 when the spread between Tapis APPI and Brent fell below $4 a barrel. The spread averaged over $7 in May but has fallen since the beginning of June.
IOC plans to lift crude imports by 2.4 per cent to 840,000 barrels per day this financial year, an IOC official said last month in an interview with Reuters.
The company aims to import 33 per cent of its crude through spot purchases, or about 277,000 bpd.
IOC, which has about 10 refineries spread across India for a total capacity of 1.204 million bpd, issues tenders several times a month to buy crude, mainly light sweet West African grades.