Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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Russia emerges India’s biggest oil supplier in October

New Delhi: Data from energy cargo tracker Vortexa shows that Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia and Iraq to become India’s top oil supplier in October.

Russia provided 935,556 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to India in October, the biggest amount ever. Russia accounted for just 0.2% of India’s total oil imports in the year ending March 31, 2022.

It currently accounts for 22% of India’s total oil imports, surpassing Saudi Arabia’s 16% and Iraq’s 20.5%.

Since it began trading at a discount as the West avoided it as retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, India’s thirst for Russian oil has increased.

In comparison to 1.05 million bpd from Iraq and 952,625 bpd from Saudi Arabia, India purchased just 36,255 barrels per day of crude oil from Russia in December 2021, according to Vortexa, an energy intelligence company. The following two months saw no imports from Russia, but in March — shortly after the Ukraine war started in February — they started again.

Russian oil was imported by India at a rate of 68,600 barrels per day (bpd) in March, 266,617 bpd the following month, and a peak of 942,694 bpd in June. But at 1.04 million bpd of oil, Iraq was India’s leading supplier in June.

In that month, Russia surpassed China as India’s second-largest supplier. Over the next two months, imports somewhat decreased. According to Vortexa, they were 876,396 bpd in September and increased to 835,556 bpd in October.

With 888,079 bpd of supplies in October, Iraq dropped to No. 2, followed by Saudi Arabia at 746,947 bpd. The Indian government has fiercely defended its commerce with Russia, claiming that it must purchase oil from the country where it is most affordable.

“In FY22 (April 2021 to March 2022), the purchases of Russian oil was 0.2 per cent (of all oil imported by India). We still buy only a quarter of what Europe buys in one afternoon,” Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told CNN in Abu Dhabi last week.

“We owe a moral duty to our consumers. We have a 1.34 billion population and we have to ensure that they are supplied with energy…whether its petrol, diesel.”

On being asked if India faces a moral conflict due to import from Russia amid the latter’s conflict with Ukraine, he had stated: “Absolutely none. There is no moral conflict. We don’t buy from X or Y. We buy whatever is available. Government does not buy, it’s the oil companies which do the buying.”

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