Russia overtook Iraq to become the single-largest oil supplier to India in
November, as Indian refiners raced to stock up on Russian oil ahead of the
December 5 price cap and associated bans on transportation services for
Russia’s crude, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing data obtained from trade
Overall, Indian imports in November averaged around 4 million barrels per day
(bpd), down from October, due to maintenance at some refiners. Russia
supplied a massive 23% of all the crude imports to India last month, or 908,000
bpd, according to the data Reuters has obtained.
Indian imports of Russian crude rose by 4% from October for a fifth
consecutive month of rising purchases from Russia.
Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, India was a small marginal buyer of
Russian crude oil. After Western buyers started shunning crude from Russia,
India became a top destination for Russian oil exports alongside China.
On the other hand, Indian imports of Iraqi crude slumped in November to the
lowest level since September 2020, and shipments from Saudi Arabia dropped
to a 14-month low, the data showed.
Russia’s crude oil loadings were essentially little changed in November
compared to October, at just over 5 million bpd, as record shipments to India
offset lower exports to the European Union, the International Energy Agency
(IEA) said on Wednesday in its Oil Market Report for December. Loadings to
the EU dropped by 430,000 bpd to 1.1 million bpd, but exports to India hit a
record of 1.3 million bpd, according to IEA.
Last month, at least four Indian refiners were looking to buy Russian crude
cargoes that can load ahead of December 5—the day on which the EU embargo
and the price cap on Russian oil took effect—and discharge before January 19,
Bloomberg reported at the end of November, quoting sources with knowledge
of the plans.
While the West was still considering the parameters of the price cap, the U.S.
Treasury issued at the end of October guidance that says Russian crude oil
loaded onto a vessel at the port of loading for maritime transport prior to
December 5 will not be subject to the price cap if the oil is unloaded at the port
of destination before January 19, 2023.