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India's Largest Refinery Inks Russian Oil Deal

India’s private refiner Reliance Industries has signed a one-year agreement with Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft to buy at least two cargoes of Urals crude in Russian rubles per month, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing four sources familiar with the matter.  

Reliance, which operates the Jamnagar refinery in India, the world’s largest and most complex single-site refinery, has signed the deal effective from April 1 to buy two cargoes of around 1 million barrels of Russia’s Urals crude each month, plus an option to buy four more cargoes per month. Under the deal, the discount of the Urals crude to the Middle Eastern Dubai benchmark is $3 per barrel, according to Reuters’ sources.  

Rosneft told Reuters that it does not comment on confidential trade agreements, adding that “India is a strategic partner for Rosneft oil company.” 

Indian refiners have paid for Russian oil in Indian rupees, Chinese yuan, and UAE dirhams since the West imposed an embargo on Russian oil imports and implemented a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian crude oil if it is to use Western insurance, reinsurance, shipping, or financing. 

Russia was India’s single largest oil supplier for a second consecutive fiscal year, as surging imports of Russian crude dragged down the share of OPEC and Middle East supply to India to a record low, Reuters reported last month, citing data from tanker-tracking data obtained from industry sources.

In the 2023/2024 fiscal year ended March 31, the share of Middle East oil supply of India’s oil imports slumped to as low as 46% -- the lowest on record dating back to 2001-2002, according to the Reuters analysis. This compares with a 55% share of the Middle Eastern crude supply of Indian imports in the previous fiscal year 2022/2023.      

The key driver of historically low Indian imports from the Middle East was the surge in Russian crude supply to the world’s third-largest oil importer.

In addition, the volume of India’s crude oil imports remained flat in the fiscal year 2023/2024 ended March 31, but the import bill of the world’s third-largest oil importer fell by almost 16% due to lower oil prices and record-high imports of cheaper Russian crude.  

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By Josh Owens for Oilprice.com

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  • Deng Li on May 29 2024 said:
    India thinks they can support Russia with no cost to their relationship with western nations. One day China will attack India. India has forfeited protection from the USA that has prevented China from attacking for decades. Does India think Russia will protect them?

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