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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Indian Crude Oil Imports From Russia Hit Another Record High

  • India’s imports of crude oil from Russia have risen for 10 consecutive months, hitting a record high of 2.2. million barrels per day in June.
  • India’s imports of crude oil from Russia exceeded its combined oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
  • India may soon hit its limit on Russian oil imports due to infrastructure constraints and its need to maintain good relations with other suppliers.

India’s crude oil imports from Russia hit a new record high of 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in June, having risen in 10 consecutive months, per data from analytics firm Kpler cited by Bloomberg.

As in May, Indian oil imports from Russia in June exceeded the combined imports from the next two biggest suppliers, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, according to Viktor Katona, head of crude analysis at Kpler.

Indian imports of the flagship Russian grade Urals jumped to another record of around 1.5 million bpd in June, Kpler data showed.

India’s oil imports from Russia have continued to surge in recent months as cheaper Russian crude exports find more and more buyers in the world’s third-largest crude oil importer.   

In May, India shattered its previous record of imports of Russian crude and took in 1.96 million bpd of crude from Russia—an all-time high at the time.

In May, India’s Russian oil imports alone were higher than the 1.74 million bpd in India’s combined imports from the next four largest suppliers - Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the U.S.

Russian oil accounted for a massive 42% of all Indian crude imports, compared to negligible volumes India had imported before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

More than a year since the war began, India has turned from a marginal buyer of Russian crude to the most important market for Moscow’s oil alongside China. Indian refiners, not complying with the G7 price cap and looking for cheap opportunistic purchases, have snapped up many of the Russian Urals cargoes, which used to go to northwest Europe before the EU embargo.

Going forward, India may soon hit its limits on imports of Russian crude, due to infrastructure constraints and the need to keep good trade relations with other crude oil suppliers, according to analysts at Kpler.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 03 2023 said:
    Both India and China have been breaking records in their purchases of Russian crude Oil. Between them they now account for 89% of Russia’s total crude exports.

    However, India’s imports of Russian crude are the more spectacular having grown in two years from less than 300,000 barrels a day (b/d) to more than 2.2 million barrels a day (mbd) in June accounting for 50% of its total imports and bigger than its combined crude imports from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the United States.

    And while India receives a price discount from Russia estimated at $3-$4 a barrel below market prices, it is still far above than the Western price cap.

    China has also been breaking records by importing more than 2.26 mbd of Russian crude in June and also importing globally 13.0 mbd in May and 12.4 mbd in June, the highest in its history.

    Between them China and India account for 23.5% of global oil trade with India paying in rupees and also in petro-yuan and China paying in petro-yuan for their imports. This alone reduces the petrodollar share in the global oil trade by 23.7%.

    If India runs out of storage for its Russian crude imports it can store it on tankers until it is needed or until there is spare storage space for it exactly as China does.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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