India’s crude oil imports from Russia have grown more than 50-fold since April and now account for 10% of all crude oil bought from overseas, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Before the Ukraine war, Russian oil accounted for only 0.2% of India’s oil imports.
“Russian oil now accounts for 10 percent of India’s April oil import basket. It is now one of the top 10 suppliers,” the official told reporters here.
As much as 40% of Rosneft has been bought by private refiners – Reliance Industries and Rosneft-backed Nayara Energy.
Indian refiners bought about 25 million barrels of Russian oil in May.
For the first time, Russian-produced crude oil accounted for 10% of India’s total seaborne imports in April, up from 0.2% in the first quarters of 2021 and 2022.
India, the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, has long defended buying crude from Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
“Energy purchases from Russia remain insignificant compared to India’s total consumption,” the oil ministry said last month. Iraq remained India’s top supplier in May and Saudi Arabia is now the third largest.
India took advantage of discounted prices to boost oil imports from Russia amid rising global energy prices.
India is the world’s third-largest oil consumer after the United States and China, and imports more than 85 percent of it.
Buyers of Russia’s Urals crude are now dwindling after the invasion of Ukraine, and prices have fallen as some foreign governments and companies decide to shun Russia’s energy exports. Indian refiners took advantage of this by buying Russian crude at a discount of $30 a barrel.
Previously, crude oil was at a disadvantage due to high freight rates.