India’s Russian oil imports drop due to pricing, not due to payment woes

India’s oil imports from Russia fell due to unattractive pricing, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said. File
| Photo Credit: Reuters

New Delhi
India’s oil imports from Russia fell due to unattractive pricing, and not because of payment problems,  Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri said on January 3. “There is no payment problem…It is a pure function of the price at which our refineries will buy,” Mr. Puri told a press conference.

“India’s leadership has only one requirement that the Indian consumer gets the energy at the most economical price, without disruption,” he said, adding that India buys 1.5 million barrels per day of Russian oil on an average. He said oil companies have not yet complained to him about facing any problems in settling payments for oil imports.

“If they (Russia) don’t offer us (good) discount why would we buy from them,” Puri said in Hindi, adding that new oil producers in other regions are willing to offer better discounts than Russia on crude sales. He refused to elaborate on new suppliers that are offering better prices.

In December 2023, India’s Russian oil imports fell to an 11-month low as five ships loaded with light sweet Sokol grade headed to other locations after the U.S. imposed sanctions on some vessels and shippers for not complying with the G7-fixed $60 per barrel price cap for oil at Russian ports.

India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer, emerged as a top buyer of sea-borne Russian oil sold at a discount after Western entities retreated following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. He said the global markets have plenty of oil and there would be no supply constraints.

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