NEW DELHI: India imported the lowest quantity of crude from Russia in the past one year, with the country importing 1.209 million barrels per day (mbd) in January 2024.
Meanwhile, India has increased its imports from its traditional suppliers during the same period. However, Russia still constitutes the largest portion of India’s crude imports, though its share has been decreasing. As per data from energy cargo tracker Vortexa, India imported 1.328 mbd from Russia and 0.985 mbd from Iraq in December 2023.
Serena Huang, an analyst at Vortexa, attributed the fall in imports from Russia to several factors. These include narrowing of Russian crude discounts and recent US sanctions on shipowners carrying Russian crude above the price cap. Additionally, rising tanker premiums as a result of the Red Sea attacks have made Russian crude less attractive for Indian refiners in recent months.
“I would not be surprised if Indian refiners step up their imports of Middle East crude in the coming months,” she added.
India, which imports 85% of its total oil, has significantly increased crude imports from Russia. From less than 2% before the Ukraine and Russia war, Russia has become the top oil supplier for India in the past several months, primarily due to huge discounts on its crude to India. However, January 2024 saw the lowest import at 1.209 mbd, while the highest import from Russia occurred in July 2023, with 1.955 mbd since January 2023.
Lately, the country has been increasing its imports from the Middle East. For instance, crude imports from Iraq rose from 0.737 mbd in June 2023 to the highest of 1.112 mbd in January 2024. Similarly, the lowest import from Saudi Arabia occurred in September 2023, at 0.501 mbd, and now in January 2024, it stands at 0.659 mbd.