India’s Russian Oil Imports Rise to Nine-month High in April

India’s Russian oil imports rose to a nine-month high in April after shipments on non-sanctioned tankers operated by Russia’s largest shipping company, Sovcomflot, resumed, tanker data obtained from shipping and trade sources.

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

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

India’s Oil Imports From Various Regions

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 India’s top oil supplier, 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.

The data showed that 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.

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

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