April marks a sharp Rise in India’s imports of Russian oil to a nine-month peak

India import of russian oil

Indian oil imports from Russia reached a nine-month peak in April when shipments resumed on non-sanctioned tankers operated by Sovcomflot’s counterpart, Saycomflot, according to data from shipping and trade sources.

The West’s sanctions on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine in 2022 have led to restrictions on oil prices and products loaded from Russian ports, reducing Moscow’s oil revenue that supports the ongoing conflict. India, the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, is a significant customer for Russian seaborne oil.

In April, the start of the fiscal year 2024/25, Indian refineries received nearly 1.8 million barrels per day of Russian oil, marking an increase of approximately 8.2% from the previous month. This boosted Russia’s share in India to around 38% from 32% in the prior month. Overall, India imported 4.8 million barrels per day of oil in April, showing a 6.5% decrease from the previous month but slightly higher than figures from April 2023.

Russia remained India’s primary oil provider, with Iraq and Saudi Arabia following suit. Yet, the increased intake of Russian oil impacted Indian refiners’ overall procurement of oil from Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the month, leading to a decline in the share of Middle Eastern oil to 41% from 46% in March, according to the data.

The decreased imports from the Middle East also resulted in a drop in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) share in India’s crude oil mix to 46% in April from 53% in March, as indicated by the data. On the other hand, the heightened imports of Russian oil raised the share of oil from the Commonwealth of Independent States, including Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Russia, in India’s imports to 41% last month from 37% in March.