India's crude oil imports from Russia soar 80% in September
Currently, Russia is the largest supplier of crude oil to India, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
A report by the Financial Express on Tuesday detailed that in the month of September, India saw an impressive 80% surge in crude oil imports from Russia, rebounding from a slight decline in the summer months.
The data, sourced from energy cargo tracking company Vortexa, revealed that the share of Urals crude in India's crude oil imports reached 1.56 million barrels per day in September, a stark contrast to the 865,000 barrels per day during the same period the previous year. On a monthly basis, imports rose by 8% from 1.44 million barrels per day.
Additionally, data from the commodity research and analysis firm Kpler indicated that crude oil imports from Russia in September reached 1.8 million barrels per day, a notable increase compared to 977,000 barrels per day in September 2022.
Analysts attribute this significant rise in India's crude oil imports from Russia to more favorable pricing and the ongoing ban on diesel and gasoline exports from Russia, which has prompted Indian refiners to increase their purchases.
India's crude oil imports from Iraq also experienced a substantial uptick in September, reaching 926,000 barrels per day, marking a 14.6% year-on-year increase and an 8.54% month-on-month rise, according to Vortexa data.
A similar trend was reflected in Kpler's analysis, indicating imports from Iraq at 916,000 barrels per day for the previous month, compared to 805,000 barrels per day during the same period the previous year.
Currently, Russia is India's largest crude oil supplier, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, although among the top three suppliers, has witnessed a significant reduction in its share of Indian crude oil imports over time.
In September, India imported approximately 506,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, a substantial drop from the 855,000 barrels per day in August, according to Vortexa data. Imports from Saudi Arabia have declined by nearly 45% since September 2022, primarily due to increased costs associated with Saudi Arabian crude after the country extended its production cuts until December.
Analysts anticipate that India will continue to maintain its current level of crude oil imports during the upcoming winter season, largely because of Russia's ongoing ban on diesel and gasoline exports.
Furthermore, there are concerns about whether Saudi Arabia and Russia will extend their production cuts beyond December, potentially further impacting crude oil prices. Brent crude recently reached $97 per barrel, its highest level since November 2022, and analysts speculate that if supply restrictions persist, crude prices may continue to rise in the first half of 2024.
Nonetheless, while India has significantly increased its crude oil imports, its total oil imports for August amounted to $13.20 billion, reflecting a 23.7% decrease compared to the previous year in terms of value, according to data from the commerce ministry.
Europe purchasing Russian oil from India
On September 12, AFP reported that official data revealed a remarkable surge in Germany's imports of refined oil products from India during the first seven months of the year.
These imports, totaling 451 million euros ($480 million), are believed to be primarily derived from crude oil originating from sanctions-affected Russia.
The astounding increase of over 1,100 percent, compared to the 37 million euros spent over the same period the previous year, was reported by Germany's national statistics agency, Destatis.
This twelve-fold rise in imports comes as a consequence of India's emergence as a significant buyer of Russian crude following the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022.