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India’s imports of crude oil from Russia soars to a record high

Iraq and Saudi supplies are the lowest in 16 months

PTI New Delhi Published 06.03.23, 02:38 AM
Representational file image

Representational file image

India’s imports of crude oil from Russia soared to a record 1.6 million barrels per day in February and is now higher than combined imports from traditional suppliers Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Russia continued to be the single largest supplier of crude oil, which is converted into petrol and diesel at refineries, for a fifth straight month by supplying more than one-third of all oil India imported, according to energy cargo tracker Vortexa.


Refiners continue to snap up plentiful Russian cargoes available at a discount to other grades.

From a market share of less than 1 per cent in India’simport basket before the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022, Russia’sshare of India’s imports rose to 1.62 million barrels per day in February, taking a 35 per cent share.

India, the world’s third-largest crude importer after China and the US, has been snapping Russian oil that was available at a discount after some in the West shunned it as a means of punishing Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

The rise in Russian imports has been at the expense of Saudi Arabia and the US. Oil imports from Saudi fell 16per cent month-on-month and that from the US declined 38 per cent.

According to Vortexa, Russia now accounts for more than the combined oil bought from Iraq and Saudi Arabia —India’s mainstay oil suppliers for decades.

Iraq, whom Russia has toppled to become the largest oil source for India, supplied 9,39,921 barrels per day (bpd) oil in February while Saudis supplied 6,47,813 bpd oil.

UAE overtook the US to become the fourth largest supplier at 4,04,570 bpd. The US supplied 2,48,430 bpd, down from 3,99,914 bpd in January.

Iraq and Saudi supplies are the lowest in 16 months.

“Indian refiners are enjoying a boost in refining margins from processing discounted Russian crude,” said Vortexa’s head of Asia-Pacific analysis, Serena Huang.

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