New Delhi: India’s import of crude oil from Russia increased further in December 2022, topping 1 million barrels per day for the first time ever as Moscow remained its top oil supper for the third month in a row, according to data from energy cargo tracker Vortexa.
Russia, which made up for just 0.2 per cent of all crude oil India imported in the year to March 31, 2022, supplied 1.19 million bpd in December.
This was higher than 909,403 bpd crude oil India imported from Russia in November and 935,556 bpd in October 2022. The previous record for most crude oil imports from Russia was in June 2022 when India bought 942,694 bpd, according to Vortexa.
Russia, which in October 2022 for the first time surpassed traditional sellers Iraq and Saudi Arabia to take the No.1 spot, now makes up for 25 per cent of all oil imported by India.
The imports peaked as a price cap was agreed upon by the EU on Russian seaborne oil. Russian oil is available at much lower than USD 60 per barrel cap agreed, industry sources said.
India is the world’s third-largest oil-consuming and importing nation. It imports 85 per cent of its crude oil needs. Crude oil is converted into fuels like petrol and diesel at refineries.
According to Vortexa, an energy intelligence firm, India imported 803,228 bpd of oil from Iraq in December and 718,357 bpd from Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates overtook the US to become India’s fourth largest supplier, selling 323,811 bpd oil in December 2022. The United States supplied 322,015 bpd, down from 405,525 bpd in November 2022.
India’s appetite for Russian oil swelled ever since it started trading on discount as the West shunned it to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
According to S&P Global Commodity Insights, India is aiming to pursue an oil import policy that will witness robust inflows from both the US and Russia in the foreseeable future, while stepping up efforts to diversify the crude basket even further to cushion the impact of any supply shock going ahead.
“Although the Russia-Ukraine war has given an opportunity to the country’s refiners to bring in plentiful volumes of crude at discounted rates from the largest non-OPEC supplier, but that has not led to a fall in market share of the US, as India looks to bolster its energy ties with Washington,” it said.
Prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, more than 60 per cent of the Indian crude basket was made up of Middle Eastern crudes, with the remainder made up of North American crudes at around 14 per cent, West African crudes at around 12 per cent, and Latin American crudes at around 5 per cent, with Russian grades accounting for only about 2 per cent. —PTI