Russia’s crude oil export to India surged to a new record in December 2022. Moscow has remained the top oil supplier of India for consecutive months. According to data from energy cargo tracker Vortexa, India imported crude oil from Russia 1 million barrels per day for the first time in December. Russia supplied 1.19 million bpd of crude oil to India in December alone.
As per Vortexa report, it was the higher than 909,403 bpd of 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 when India bought 942,694 bpd in June 2022.
Russia makes up for 25% of all oil imported by India. The crude oil export to India peaked when the EU and the US imposed a price cap on Russia’s seaborne oil.
India is the world’s third-largest oil-consuming and importing nation. It imports 85 % of its crude oil needs. Crude oil is converted into fuels like petrol and diesel at refineries.
Vortexa said that India imported 803,228 bpd of oil from Iraq in December and 718,357 bpd from Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) 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.
Prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, more than 60 % of the Indian crude basket was made up of Middle Eastern crudes, with the remainder made up of North American crudes at around 14 %, West African crudes at around 12 %, and Latin American crudes at around 5 %, with Russian grades accounting for only about 2 %.
As per Vortexa, India imported just 36,255 barrels per day of crude oil from Russia in December 2021, compared to 1.05 million bpd from Iraq and 9,52,625 bpd from Saudi Arabia.
The Indian government has been vehemently defending its trade with Russia, saying it has to source oil from where it is the cheapest.
The government has previously indicated that oil companies will continue to buy oil from Russia outside the price cap.
“We do not ask our companies to buy Russian oil. We ask our companies to buy oil (based on) what is the best option that they can get. Now, it depends on what the market throws up,” Jaishankar said in Rajya Sabha.
“Please do understand it’s not just we buy oil from one country. We buy oil from multiple sources, but it is a sensible policy to go where we get the best deal in the interests of the Indian people, and that is exactly what we are trying to do,” he had said.
The executive body of the European Union has asked its 27 member countries to cap the price of Russian oil at $60 a barrel as part of the West’s attempt to squeeze Moscow’s oil revenues and limit its ability to wage war in Ukraine while keeping global prices and supplies steady.
From December 5, 2022, western shipping and insurance companies are prohibited from handling Russian oil sold above the price cap.
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