India, the world’s third-biggest oil-importing and consuming nation, has long defended purchases of crude oil from Russia following President Vladimir Putin ordering the invasion of Ukraine. The Oil Ministry had last month stated that “energy purchases from Russia remain minuscule in comparison to India’s total consumption.” Russia rose to become India’s second biggest supplier of oil in May2022, pushing Saudi Arabia into third place but still behind Iraq which remains number one, data from trade sources showed.
In May Indian refiners received about 819,000 barrels per day (bpd) Russian oil, the highest thus far in any month, compared to about 277,00 in April, the data showed.
Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine prompted many oil importers to shun trade with Moscow, pushing spot prices for Russian crude to record discounts against other grades.
That provided Indian refiners, which rarely used to buy Russian oil due to high freight costs, an opportunity to snap up low-priced crude.