Crude oil imports from Russia have risen more than 50-fold since April and now make up 10 percent of all crude oil bought abroad, a senior government official said Thursday. Russian oil made up only 0.2 percent of all oil imported by India before the war in Ukraine.
Last month, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia and became India’s second-largest oil supplier after Iraq, as refineries picked up Russian crude oil that was available at a huge discount after the war in Ukraine. Indian refineries bought about 25 million barrels of Russian oil in May.
The Ministry of Oil said last month that “energy purchases from Russia remain minuscule compared to India’s total consumption.” Iraq remained India’s main supplier in May and Saudi Arabia is now the third largest supplier. India has taken advantage of reduced prices to ramp up oil imports from Russia at a time when global energy prices have risen.
After the US and China, India is the world’s third largest consumer of oil, more than 85 percent of which is imported. After the invasion of Ukraine, there are now fewer buyers for Russian Ural crude oil, and some foreign governments and companies have decided to avoid Russian energy exports, and the price has fallen.
Indian refineries have taken advantage of this, buying Russian crude at discounts of up to $30 a barrel.
In the past, the crude oil was disadvantageous because of the high freight costs.