Now Russia Is Possibly The Largest Supplier Of Crude Oil To India

Now Russia Is Possibly The Largest Supplier Of Crude Oil To India

by Nishtha Anushree - Thursday, June 30, 2022 11:41 AM IST
Now Russia Is Possibly The Largest Supplier Of Crude Oil To IndiaA crude oil processing facility in Russia.

Tanker tracking figures show that Russia is supplying 1-1.2 million barrels of crude oil to India in June.

Why it matters: If the data compilation is accurate, Russia has possibly become the largest supplier of crude oil to India.

  • This is a mammoth change as Russia constituted less than 2-3 per cent of India's oil imports in 2021, until February 2022.

  • This is a win-win for both the nations as Russia is able to dodge Western sanctions and India is benefitting from the discount at which the Russian crude is available.

Import data: India has been steadily increasing its Russian oil imports from March to June.

  • It imported three million barrels in March, 7.2 million barrels in April, and 24 million barrels in May.

  • For June, the figure is estimated to be 28 million barrels. But if the latest figures are to be believed, the import has surpassed estimates with 30-36 million barrels.

Other suppliers: Iraq’s daily supplies in June are estimated to be around 1.01 million barrels while Saudi Arabia’s are on course for 6.62 lakh a day.

  • The two nations’ combined deliveries to India have dropped by about five lakh barrels a day since April, as Russian flows have ramped up.

  • This has caused unease in Baghdad as Iraq’s oil has increasingly had to be discounted to compete for market share in Asia.

Neck and neck between Iraq, Russia: By some estimates, Russia has already surpassed Iraq as the largest supplier to India while it's a little behind according to some other estimates.

  • Vortexa figures suggest Russian deliveries are at 1.16 million barrels a day, more than Iraq’s 1.131 million.

  • Tanker tracking compiled by Bloomberg indicates that 9.88 lakh barrels a day arrived from Russia this month, slightly below a figure of 1.003 million a day from Iraq.

Why the shift: European companies stopped buying from Russia on account of the Ukraine war and so the latter had to find alternative markets.

  • Indian refiners willingly chose cheap Russian barrels and the Indian government defended it citing its national interest.

  • This may be a victory for S Jaishankar, who, even in the face of mounting Western pressure against Russia, managed to increase the import of oil.

Bottom line: Russian oil made up a quarter of all crude flowing into India in the month of June. It happened because, instead of succumbing to outside pressure, Indian diplomacy made it clear to the West that it would deal with other nations on its terms.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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