India’s crude oil imports from Russia have jumped more than 50 times since April and now make up for 10 per cent of all crude oil bought from overseas, a senior government official said on Thursday.
Russian oil accounted for only 0.2 percent of all oil imported by India before the Ukraine war.
“Russia oil now makes up 10 percent of India’s oil import basket in April. It is now among the top 10 suppliers,” the official told reporters here.
As much as 40 percent of Russian oil was purchased by private refineries – Reliance Industries and Rosneft-backed Nayara Energy.
Last month, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become India’s second-largest supplier of oil to Iraq, as refineries snatched Russian crude oil available at a huge discount after the war in Ukraine.
Indian refineries bought about 25 million barrels of Russian oil in May.
Crude oil of Russian origin made up 10 percent of India’s total sea imports for the first time in April, rising from 0.2 percent by 2021 and Q1 2022.
India, the world’s third largest oil import and consumption nation, has long defended Russia’s crude oil purchases after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
The oil ministry said last month that “Russia’s energy purchases remain low compared to India’s total consumption.” Iraq remained the top supplier to India in May and Saudi Arabia is now the third largest supplier.
India has benefited from discounted prices to increase oil imports from Russia at a time when global energy prices have risen.
After the US and China, India is the world’s third largest consumer of oil, of which more than 85 percent is imported.
Following its invasion of Ukraine, there are now fewer buyers for Russia’s Urals crude oil, with some foreign governments and companies deciding to avoid Russian energy exports, and its price has fallen. Indian refineries took advantage of this and bought Russian crude oil at discounts as high as $ 30 per barrel.
In the past, the crude oil was detrimental due to the high freight cost.