Russia has surpassed the historically dominating suppliers Saudi Arabia and Iraq to become India’s top crude oil supplier, quoting energy cargo tracker Vortexa, The Economic Times (ET) reported.
According to the report, in October, India imported 946,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Russia. This accounted for 22 per cent of India’s total crude imports, more than Iraq’s 20.5 per cent and Saudi Arabia’s 16 per cent. Compared to last month, in October Russia supplied 8 per cent more crude oil to India. India’s total import also jumped 5 per cent, ET said citing Vortexa data, an energy intelligence firm that tracks oil and gas tankers across the globe.
In October, India also imported about 106,000 barrels per day of fuel oil from Russia in October, the report added.
Russian oil imports have seen a dramatic rise from less than 1 per cent in 2021. This was mainly due to the deep discounts that followed the February invasion of Ukraine. Western sanctions have forced Russia to sell its crude to a deeply discounted price.
On multiple occasions in the past, the government has defended India’s purchase of Russian oil. “If India did not buy or someone else didn’t buy Russian oil, and Russian oil was to go off the market, what would happen to International prices?” oil minister Hardeep Puri told CNN on Monday, adding that the market disruption could send prices to $200 per barrel. He said that the government has a “moral duty” to keep its population supplied with energy, so India will buy oil and gas from wherever it can.
The ET report said that with imports of 1 million barrels per day China continued to be the largest buyer of Russian seaborne crude in October. But for the first time, India imported more seaborne Russian crude than the European Union.
Reported a few days ago, the latest data from the oil ministry showed that the share of Eurasia, including Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan, has expanded to 21 per cent in the April-September period from 5 per cent a year earlier. Ministry data showed that while the Middle East’s share remained 59 per cent in the April-September period, the combined share of North America, South America, and Africa declined to half from 18 per cent a year ago.
Some analysts believe that due to shipping constraints that could possibly emerge from the West’s proposed price cap on Russian oil, Russian oil supplies to India could slow from December, The ET report said.
“There remains much uncertainty on whether Russian crude deliveries can be sustained at this level post the December 5 EU ban, with the availability of ice-class tankers to transport crude from the Russian Baltic ports being one of the biggest constraints,” said Serena Huang, an analyst at Vortexa, told ET.