India’s Russian oil imports have increased tenfold in 2022, according to the bank

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India saved $5 billion last year from increased Russian oil purchases

According to the state-controlled Indian lender Bank of Baroda, India’s imports of Russian oil have increased tenfold in the past year.

The figures show that Asia’s third largest economy has saved around $5 billion (£4 billion) by expanding crude oil purchases from Moscow.

This is happening because western countries restricted their energy imports from Russia after invading Ukraine.

Russia sells energy at a discount to countries like China and India, which is the world’s third largest oil importer.

In 2021, Russian oil accounted for just 2% of India’s annual crude oil imports. That figure is now close to 20%, the Bank of Baroda said.

Figures show that India saved about US$89 per tonne of crude oil by buying oil from Russia in the last fiscal year.

Despite US and European pressure, India refuses to comply with Western sanctions on Russian imports. New Delhi has not explicitly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine either.

India has defended its oil purchases, saying that as a country dependent on imported energy and where millions of people live in poverty, it is unable to pay higher prices.

Since the start of the Ukraine war, Europe has imported six times more energy from Russia than India, the country’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said in a television interview last year.

“Europe has managed to comfortably reduce its imports,” he said.

Mr Jaishankar added: “If it’s a matter of principle, why didn’t Europe cut back on day one?”

With no end in sight to the conflict, some analysts believe Russia will continue to offer cheap oil to Asia’s biggest energy importers.

“We expect Russian crude oil uptake to remain limited to these two countries [India and China]thereby maintaining the high rebates,” Vandana Hari of energy analysis firm Vanda Insights told the BBC.

India’s oil refiners will continue to maximize profit margins for as long as possible, but if sanctions are lifted they will simply “go back to the crude oil diet they are used to,” she added.

Sybil Alvarez

"Incurable gamer. Infuriatingly humble coffee specialist. Professional music advocate."

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