As Western sanctions have halted old trade routes from Russia, Reliance Industries is buying a large amount of Russian crude and naphtha, reported Reuters. Citing the trade flows data from Refinitiv, the report said India purchased about 410,000 tonnes of naphtha in September-October period. Of which, Reliance received about 150,000 tonnes from the Russian ports of Ust-Luga, Tuapse, and Novorossiysk during the two months.
Naphtha is a flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture used for making petrochemicals. The report said that in four years to 2019, Reliance received only one shipment of Russian naphtha per year. In 2020 and 2021 they didn’t receive that as well.
A trader based in India told Reuters, “With European countries shutting down Russia, they need to find outlets for their naphtha.” He said that Russian naphtha is being sold at lower premiums to countries like India.
The operator of the world’s largest refining complex, Reliance is capable of processing 1.4 million barrels of oil a day. Reliance’s Russian fuel oil imports have surged to a record 3 million tonnes since the beginning of this fiscal year in April compared to 1.6 million in all of FY2021-22, the report said.
Reliance has also bought straight-run fuel oil from countries, including Iraq and Russia. Straight-run fuel oil is the residue that comes out from the distillation column, without further processing in the vacuum distillation unit. The report also said that Reliance is expected to receive about 409,000 tonnes of fuel oil in December.
After the western sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, multiple alternative trade routes have emerged for Russian crude and refined products. Previously, it was reported that South Korea has started importing naphtha from Tunisia, which allegedly buys Russian naphtha. Tunisia is a major exporter of naphtha, it was reported that this year it received 410,000 tonnes of light distillate from Russia.
These new trade routes are mainly supplying Russian crude and refined products to European countries, the report said.