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A U.S. federal government official is going to India to discuss U.S. sanctions on Russia and try to convince the Indian side to reduce its purchases of Russian oil, Reuters reported, saying the visit would take place later this week.
The visit, from Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes assistant secretary Elizabeth Rosenberg, is part of a broader attempt by the Biden administration to convince foreign U.S. allies to subscribe to U.S. and European sanctions against Russia, especially, it seems, in the energy area.
"It's important to talk to the parts of the world that are strong U.S. partners on a whole host of other issues, and make sure we're in close contact about our sanctions regime and working together to crack down on any evasion opportunities or evasion activities," a Treasury Department spokesperson said.
Russia recently became India's fourth-largest oil supplier as the subcontinent rushed to buy discount Russian crude shunned by Europe and the U.S. In April, the share of Russian crude in India's total import tally stood at 6 percent, which was a record high, translating into some 277,000 bpd. That was up from 66,000 bpd in the previous month.
India is highly dependent on oil imports, relying on them for over 80 percent of its total consumption. This makes the country quite vulnerable to price shocks and motivates taking advantage of any bargain that presents itself.
Rosenberg's visit to New Delhi would not be the first attempt of the Biden administration to rein India in. In March, Washington warned New Delhi that buying more Russian oil could expose it to "a great risk."
"U.S. has no objection to India buying Russian oil provided it buys it at discount, without significantly increasing from previous years," an unnamed senior government official told Reuters at the time, adding, "Some increase is allowed."
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.