India’s imports of cheap Russian crude soar since the Ukraine invasion

India’s maritime oil import volume from Russia does not include CPC blended oil, which is also exported via Russia’s Black Sea ports, but is supplied mostly by its Kazakh subsidiaries from Western countries rather than transit volume.

India’s oil imports from Russia have been increasing since February as Asia’s third-largest economy and the world’s third-largest oil importer have turned to heavily discounted Russian oil, especially crude from the Urals, to reduce its import bill.

The country received more than 24 million barrels of Russian crude this month, up from 7.2 million barrels in April and about 3 million in March, and is expected to receive about 28 million barrels in June, according to Refinitiv Oil Flows.Eicon.

Rising energy imports helped push India’s total merchandise imports from Russia between February 24 and May 26 to $6.4 billion, up from $1.99 billion for the same period last year, according to government figures seen by Reuters.

Chart: India’s imports from Russia increase during Ukraine crisis –

India’s exports to Russia, however, fell nearly 50% to $377.07 million during this period, as the government has not yet established a formal payment mechanism.

While the West responded to the invasion with a barrage of sanctions, India was criticized for continuing to buy Russian energy. New Delhi brushed off criticism, saying such imports are only a fraction of the country’s overall needs and saying it would continue to buy “cheap” Russian oil, arguing that a sudden stop would raise costs for its customers.

Russian and Indian energy companies are also discussing future supply deals and possible equity investments in Russian oil and gas projects.

Serena Hoyles

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