Attracted by cheap prices, India and China continue to increase their imports of Russian crude, which is now mostly banned in the West.
India, which wasn’t a big buyer of Russian oil until March this year, has now imported five times the amount of all the Russian crude it bought in the whole of 2021, according to estimates from commodity data firm Kpler cited by The Associated Press. So far this year, India has imported 60 million barrels of crude from Russia, compared to 12 million in Russian oil imports for the entire 2021, per Kpler data.
China has also increased its intake of Russian oil, although not as dramatically in percentage hikes as India.
China, however, overtook Germany as the largest importer of Russian crude oil anywhere in the world, Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said earlier this month, analyzing Russia’s fossil fuel exports and revenues in the first 100 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“India became a significant importer of Russian crude oil, buying 18% of the country’s exports. A significant share of the crude is re-exported as refined oil products, including to the U.S. and Europe, an important loophole to close,” CREA said.
India is even said to be looking to negotiate six-month supply deals with Russia’s oil giant Rosneft at a time when Western buyers avoid dealing with Moscow’s crude.
Other price-sensitive buyers in Asia could also import more Russian crude. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told AP the country would first look into other sources, but is open to importing Russian crude as it is desperate to ease a major economic and fuel crisis.
In total, Russia earned $97 billion (93 billion euro) in revenue from fossil fuel exports in the first 100 days of the war (February 24 to June 3), with EU importing 61% of this, CREA said.
Russia is likely getting more revenues from oil and gas now than before the war in Ukraine, U.S. energy security envoy Amos Hochstein said at a Senate subcommittee hearing last week.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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