Indian imports of cheap Russian crude surge since Ukraine invasion

Band Nidhi Verma and Aftab Ahmed

NEW DELHI, May 30 (Reuters)India has received 34 million barrels of Russian oil at a discount since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon, which has more than tripled the value of total imports from Russia, including other products, compared to the same period of 2021.

Indian maritime oil import volumes from Russia exclude CPC Blend oil, which is also exported through Russia’s Black Sea port, but mainly supplied by Kazakh subsidiaries from Western countries as transit volumes.

India’s oil imports from Russia have been rising since February as Asia’s third-largest economy and the world’s third-largest oil importer have turned to heavily discounted Russian oil, mainly Urals crude, for reduce its import bill. BFO-URL-NWE

The country received more than 24 million barrels of Russian crude this month, compared to 7.2 million barrels in April and around 3 million in March, and is expected to receive around 28 million barrels in June, according to oil flows from Refinitiv Eikon.

The surge in energy imports helped push India’s total imports of goods from Russia between February 24 and May 26 to $6.4 billion, from $1.99 billion at the same period last year, according to government figures seen by Reuters.

India’s exports to Russia, however, fell by almost 50% to $377.07 million during this period, as its government has yet to put in place a formal payment mechanism..

As the West responded to the invasion with a barrage of sanctions, India came under fire for its continued purchases of Russian energy. New Delhi brushed off criticism, saying such imports were only a fraction of the country’s overall needs and said it would continue to buy “cheap”. Russian oilarguing that a sudden shutdown would drive up costs for its consumers.

Russian and Indian energy companies also discussed forward supply deals and possible acquisitions of stakes in Russian oil and gas projects.

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(Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Nidhi Verma Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

(([email protected]; +91 99109 33884; Reuters messaging: twitter: @aftabahmed00))

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Lee J. Murillo