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US Said Indian Vessels Exported Russian Oil to New York: RBI

The US warned New Delhi that Russian oil was being exported via high-seas transfers to hide its origin – in violation of US sanctions, a top Indian banker official said on Saturday.

Russian crude oil tanker
The oil tanker Minerva Virgo is docked in New Jersey after leaving a Russian port around the time Moscow invaded Ukraine in late February. Indian vessels have been loading Russian crude in high-seas transfers for refining in India then exporting it abroad, including to the US in moves that risk US sanctions on the companies and vessels involved. File photo: Reuters.


The United States voiced concern to India that Russian oil was being exported via high-seas transfers to hide its origin – to New York in violation of US sanctions, an Indian central banker official revealed on Saturday.

The US Treasury Department told the Modi government that an Indian ship picked up oil from a Russian tanker on the high seas and brought it to a port in Gujarat on the west coast, where it was refined and shipped on, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor Michael Patra said.

US sanctions on Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine in February prohibit the import to the United States of Russian-origin energy products including crude oil, refined fuels, distillates, coal and gas.

“The refined output was put back on that ship and it set sail without a destination. In the mid-seas it received the destination so it reached at its course, went to New York,” Patra said at an event to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence.

The US embassy in New Delhi said it had no immediate comment.


ALSO SEE:  China and India Doubled Share of Russian Oil in a Year



Patra’s comments are India’s first official public reference to such US concerns. Delhi has not joined the sanctions against Russia or condemned what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in its neighbour.

Patra said he was told the Russian crude was processed and converted into a distillate used for making single-use plastic. He did not identify the Indian vessel or refiner.

“So that’s the way war works. It works in strange ways,” he said

India, the world’s number-3 oil importer and consumer, rarely bought Russian oil in the past. But since the war started, Indian refiners have been snapping up discounted Russian oil, shunned by many Western countries and companies.


  • Reuters with addtional editing by Jim Pollard





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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.


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