Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become India’s second-biggest supplier of oil behind Iraq as refiners snap up Russian crude available at a deep discount following the war in Ukraine, industry data showed. Indian refiners bought about 25 million barrels of Russian oil in May or over 16% of all their oil imports. According to the data, Russian-origin crude accounted for 5% of India’s total seaborne imports in April for the first time, up from less than 1% in 2021 and Q1 2022.
India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, and consumer have long defended its purchases of Russian crude oil following President Vladimir Putin’s order to invade Ukraine.
According to the Oil Ministry, “energy purchases from Russia remain minuscule in comparison to India’s total consumption.”
Iraq remained the top supplier to India in May and Saudi Arabia is now the third biggest supplier. India has taken advantage of discounted prices to ramp up oil imports from Russia at a time when global energy prices have been rising.
After the United States and China, India is the world’s third-largest consumer of oil, with more than 85 percent imported.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there are fewer buyers for Ural crude oil, with some foreign governments and companies opting to avoid Russian energy exports, and its price has fallen. Indian refiners have taken advantage of this by purchasing Russian crude oil at discounts of up to $30 per barrel. Earlier, the crude was disadvantageous because of the high freight cost.