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Indian Imports of Russian Oil Surge to Nine-Month Peak

The world’s most populous country is the globe’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer – and Russia’s best seaborne oil client

A bulk carrier sails near the crude oil terminal Kozmino in Nakhodka Bay near the port city of Nakhodka, Russia
A bulk carrier sails near the crude oil terminal Kozmino in Nakhodka Bay near the port city of Nakhodka, Russia. Photo: Reuters


Indian imports of Russian oil hit a nine-month high last month after shipments by non-sanctioned tankers operated by Russia’s largest shipping company Sovcomflot got underway again.

Refiners in India briefly stopped importing Russian oil in tankers belonging to Sovcomflot after the company’s ships, along with its 14 tankers, were designated by Washington in February as being in breach of Western sanctions.

The West has imposed the sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine in 2022 and has enacted price caps on oil and oil products loaded at Russian ports aimed at cutting Moscow’s oil revenue that funds the war.

India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, is the top client for Russian seaborne oil.


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In April, the first month of the fiscal year 2024/25, Indian refiners shipped in nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil, up about 8.2% over the previous month, expanding Russia’s share in India to about 38% from 32% in the previous month, tanker data obtained from shipping and trade sources showed.

Overall, India imported 4.8 million bpd of oil in April, a decline of 6.5% from the previous month and marginally higher than April 2023.

Russia continued to be the top oil supplier to India followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

However, increased purchases of Russian oil dented Indian refiners’ overall purchase of Iraqi and Saudi Arabian oil during the month, dragging down the share of Middle Eastern oil to 41% from 46% in March, the data showed.

Lower imports from the Middle East further reduced the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ share in India’s crude basket to 46% in April from 53% in March, the data showed.

Higher imports of Russian oil boosted the share of oil from the Commonwealth of Independent States, comprising Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia, in India’s imports to 41% last month from 37% in March.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Russian Oil Trading with India Still Plagued by Currency Woes

India Buying Russian Oil at 30% Above Western Price Cap

‘Pop-up’ Traders Shipping Half Russia’s Oil to China and India

India Set to Overhaul China as Biggest Driver of Oil Demand


Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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