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The U.S. Won’t Sanction India For Buying Russian Oil

The United States will not enforce sanctions on India for its purchases of Russian crude oil despite the price cap that the G7, led by the U.S., imposed on Russian crude and oil derivatives last year.

This is what Asia News International reported in a tweet, citing a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. The U.S. official was commenting on calls from Ukraine to impose sanctions on India for continuing to buy Russian crude.

"We're not looking to sanction India. Our partnership with India is one of our most consequential relationships," Karen Donfried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said.

Even so, according to Geoffrey Pyatt, Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources, the purposes of the price cap are being served.

"Even though India isn't a participant in the price cap, it has effectively used its negotiating leverage which it derives from the price cap and the fact that large portions of the global market are no longer accessible to Russia, to drive down the price of Russian crude," he was quoted as saying by ANI.

Following the sanction barrage that the EU and G7 leveled at Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, India and China became the biggest buyers of Russian crude, taking advantage of steep discounts for Russia’s flagship Urals blend.

The change in Indian oil imports was particularly marked: while before the sanctions began Russia was a minor supplier of oil to the subcontinent, last year it became one of its biggest suppliers.

“Today we feel confident that we’ll be able to use our market to source from wherever we have to, from wherever we get beneficial terms,” India’s energy minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, told CNBC this week.

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“We didn’t allow the geopolitical turbulence or the pandemic or anything else to come in the way of our ability to supply to our consumer,” he added.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 09 2023 said:
    Like China, India has never recognized Western sanctions against Russia. It only accepts UN sanctions. If sanctioned for buying Russian crude in very big volumes, India will simply ignore it. Moreover, India has never accepted Western price caps on Russian crude, petroleum products and gas exports.

    The United Sates is aware of India’s stance on sanctions. Moreover, it wants to cultivate India as a counterbalance to China.

    Meanwhile, Russia has displaced Iraq to become the largest oil supplier to India supplying on average 1.2 million barrels a day (mbd).

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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