India’s oil imports from the Middle East fell to a 19-month low in September while Russian imports rebounded although refining outages hit overall crude imports, data from trade and shipping sources showed.
Iraq remained the top supplier while Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the second biggest after a gap of a month, the data showed.
India has emerged as Russia’s second biggest oil buyer after China, taking advantage of discounted prices as some Western entities shun purchases over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The discount on Russian oil has narrowed now but when you compare its landed cost with other grades such as those from the Middle East, Russian oil turned out to be cheaper,” said a source at one of India’s state refiners.
Rather than cutting economic ties with the Kremlin, India has undermined Western sanctions by increasing its purchases of Russian oil, coal and fertilizer – giving Putin a vital financial lifeline.
New Delhi has repeatedly abstained from votes condemning Russia at the United Nations – providing Moscow with a veneer of international legitimacy. And in August, India participated in Russia’s large-scale Vostok military exercises alongside China, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan – where Moscow paraded its vast arsenal.
(CNN) India’s oil minister has said he has “absolutely” no moral conflict about purchasing Russian gas amid Moscow’s brutal war in Ukraine.
“Absolutely none. Absolutely none. There is no conflict,” Hardeep Singh Puri told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Monday. “We have a duty to our consumers…We have 1.34 billion population, and we have to ensure that they are supplied with energy.”
Concerning the proposed cap on Russian oil put forth by the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy nations, Puri said India will examine it and respond “according to its supreme national interest.” He added that India did not feel any pressure to do so.
India’s imports of Russian oil stood at 0.2% of total imports at the end of March, Puri said. Reuters reported that surged to a record high of 23% in September.