Russian crude oil constituted a significant 42% of India’s total oil imports in June, surpassing the 37% share in May. This share exceeded the combined proportion of the next four major suppliers, as reported by Vortexa, a company that tracks energy cargo.
According to an ET report, Russia’s crude oil exports to India saw a 13% increase within a month, reaching 1.92 million barrels per day (mbd) in June.The share of Russian imports surpassed the combined shares of Iraq (16%), Saudi Arabia (8%), the UAE (8%), and the US (7%).
Indian ports received more Russian crude oil in June compared to the combined volumes discharged in China and Europe. China’s seaborne Russian crude imports decreased by 16% to 1.15 mbd, while Europe’s imports dropped by 19% to 396,000 bpd. It is important to note that China and Europe also receive Russian oil via pipeline.
“India’s imports of Russian crude in June have reached the highest since last July, driven by weaker import appetite from China,” said Serena Huang, analyst at Vortexa. “With Russia’s crude exports down nearly 5% month-on-month in June, arrivals into India could remain flat to lower in July.” The transportation of oil from Russian ports to India typically takes around a month.
Indian refiners find Russian crude attractive due to the discounted price, which is approximately $3-4 per barrel on a delivered-at-port basis. Although the current discounts are narrower compared to the $12-13 per barrel in the early stages of the Ukraine war in 2022, they remain competitive against supplies from the Gulf.
Iraq’s supplies to India experienced a 22% decline in June, amounting to 754,000 barrels per day (bpd), while imports from Saudi Arabia decreased by 36% to 386,000 bpd. However, the United States witnessed a 63% increase in supplies to India, reaching 330,000 bpd.
India’s imports of refined products from Russia increased by 9% to 162,000 bpd in June. China’s imports of Russian products rose by 20% to 288,000 bpd, while Europe’s imports decreased by 9% to 511,000 bpd.
Private sector refiners in India accounted for 44% of the total Russian crude imports in June, an increase from 40% in May. Urals, the primary Russian grade, made up 80% of the overall crude imports from Russia in June, a slight decrease from 84% in May.