Russian oil dominates India’s oil imports; share of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE and US falls – Times of India

Russia dominated India’s oil imports in 2023-24 despite decreasing discounts on oil and sanctions from G7 nations for its actions in Ukraine. According to energy cargo tracker Vortexa, Russian oil now accounts for 35% of India’s total imports, up from 23% the previous year.
Meanwhile, other major suppliers like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the US have seen a decrease in their market share, states an ET report.Iraq’s share dropped to 20%, Saudi Arabia to 15%, UAE to 6%, and the US to 3.5%.
In terms of supply, Russia provided 1.57 million barrels a day in FY24, compared to 1 million barrels a day in the previous year. On the other hand, Iraq’s supply decreased to 0.89 million barrels a day from 0.95 million barrels a day, and Saudi Arabia’s supply fell to 0.69 million barrels a day from 0.78 million barrels a day.
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Despite challenges in shipping, Indian refiners continue to prefer Russian crude due to attractive discounts. “What has ensured Russia’s dominance in the Indian market is discount. Otherwise, why would Indian refiners buy from Russia? It takes much longer and costs much more to ship oil from Russia to India,” an oil industry executive was quoted as saying.
Discounts on Russian oil have decreased significantly since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict. Initially, Russian crude (Urals) was sold at a discount of $30 per barrel to the international benchmark Brent, but now the discount has narrowed to $2-3 per barrel.
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Indian state refiners seeking cost-effective Russian crude oil, while avoiding shipping and insurance complexities, initially enjoyed discounts averaging $12-13 per barrel. Within a few months, this discount reduced to $5-7. In recent months, it has further decreased to $2-3 per barrel, but remains appealing to refiners striving for savings in crude oil procurement.

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