India’s Russia oil imports jumped tenfold in 2022, the bank says
India’s imports of Russian oil rose tenfold last year, according to Indian state-controlled lender Bank of Baroda.
As Asia’s third-largest economy, it saved $5bn (4bn PS) by increasing its crude oil purchases from Moscow.
After the invasion of Ukraine, Western countries cut their energy imports from Russia.
Russia has been selling energy at a discount to countries like China and India, which is the world’s third-largest importer of oil.
In 2021, Russian crude oil will only account for 2% of India’s annual crude imports. Bank of Baroda reported that this figure is now at nearly 20%.
The figures show that India saved $89 per tonne on its purchases of Russian crude oil during the past financial year.
India, despite pressure from the US & Europe, has refused to adhere to Western sanctions against Russian imports. New Delhi also has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
India defended its oil purchase, saying it could not afford higher prices as a country that relies on energy imports, and where millions of people live in poverty.
Since the Ukraine war began, Europe had imported six times more energy from Russia than India, the country’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in a TV interview last year.
“Europe has managed to reduce its imports while doing it in a manner that is comfortable,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar added: “If it is a matter of principle why did Europe not cut on the first day?”
With no end in sight to the conflict, some analysts expect Russia to continue to offer cheap oil to Asia’s biggest energy importers.
“We expect Russian crude intake to remain limited to these two countries [India and China], sustaining the steep discounts,” Vandana Hari, from energy analysis firm Vanda Insights told the BBC.
India’s oil refiners will continue to maximize their profit margins for as long as they can, but will simply “go back to their usual crude diet” if the sanctions were to be lifted, she added.