Russian oil accounted for 42% of India’s total crude imports in May, up 15% month-on-month, defying analysts’ expectations of a slowdown due to the Chinese competition.
India imported a record 1.96 million barrels per day (mbd) from Russia in May, according to the energy cargo tracker Vortexa. This was more than the combined imports of 1.74 mbd from the next four largest suppliers – Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the US. Supplies from Iraq, the UAE and the US increased marginally in May but Saudi exports to India fell nearly a fifth month-on-month. India’s overall crude imports expanded 1.5% in May.
“India has wrestled more Russian crude supplies from its strongest contender, China, in May and could possibly set new records again in June/July with refiners’ voracious appetite for the discounted barrels,” said Serena Huang, an analyst at Vortexa.
Chinese imports of seaborne Russian oil increased 6.5% month-on-month to 1.4 mbd in May while European imports rose 72% to 355,000 barrels per day (bpd). China also imports a substantial volume from Russia using pipelines.
The share of Urals in India’s imports of Russian crude remained steady at 71% in May. Urals is the flagship Russian crude that has almost always been available below the G7 price cap of $60 per barrel. Imports of Varandey and Sokol, two other Russian grades, increased in May.
Urals is currently trading around $56 per barrel while Sokol is available for around $62. Indian refiners have been paying in US dollars for Russian oil priced below the G7 cap while using the UAE’s Dirham for higher-priced trades.
India’s imports of refined products from Russia increased 40% to 174,000 bpd, with private refiners importing almost all of it. Naphtha, diesel and petrol accounted for less than 40% of the imported refined products.
India’s fuel exports to Europe fell 12% to 236,000 bpd on lower overall demand in the continent and higher supplies from the US. India’s exports to the US more than doubled to 118,000 bpd from 50,000 bpd, spurred by the summer driving season in the world’s largest oil consumer.Share This