New Delhi: Data from energy shipment tracking firm Vortexa shows that Russia overtook Saudi Arabia and Iraq to become India’s largest oil supplier in October.

Russia provided 935,556 barrels per day of crude oil to India in October, the largest amount ever. Russia accounted for only 0.2% of India’s total oil imports in the year ending March 31, 2022.

It currently accounts for 22% of India’s total oil imports, outpacing Saudi Arabia 16% and Iraq 20.5%.

Since it began trading at a discount as the West avoided it in retaliation for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, India’s thirst for Russian oil has increased.

Compared with 1.05 million barrels per day from Iraq and 952,625 barrels per day from Saudi Arabia, India bought only 36,255 barrels per day of crude oil from Russia in December 2021, according to energy intelligence firm Vortexa. The next two months saw no imports from Russia, but in March – shortly after the Ukraine War began in February – it started again.

India imported Russian oil at a rate of 68,600 bpd in March, and 266,617 bpd the following month, peaking at 942,694 bpd in June. But at 1.04 million barrels per day of oil, Iraq was India’s main supplier in June.

That month, Russia overtook China as India’s second largest supplier. Over the next two months, imports decreased somewhat. According to Vortexa, it was 876,396 b/d in September and increased to 835,556 b/d in October.

Supplies amounted to 888,079 barrels per day in October, and Iraq fell to No. 2, followed by Saudi Arabia at 746,947 barrels per day. The Indian government has fiercely defended its trade with Russia, claiming that it should buy oil from the country where its price is affordable.

In fiscal year 22 (April 2021 to March 2022), Russian oil purchases amounted to 0.2 percent (of all oil imported by India). “We still only buy a quarter of what Europe buys in one afternoon,” Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told CNN in Abu Dhabi last week.

“We owe a moral duty to our customers. We have a population of 1.34 billion and we have to ensure that they are supplied with energy… be it gasoline or diesel.”

When asked if India is facing a moral conflict over importing from Russia amid the recent dispute with Ukraine, he said: “Nothing at all. There is no moral conflict. We do not buy from X or Y. We buy whatever is available. The government does not buy And the oil companies are the ones that are buying.”


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