India has bought more than twice as much crude oil from Russia in the two months since its invasion of Ukraine as it did in the whole of 2021, according to Reuters calculations, as Indian refiners snapped up discounted oil that others had shunned.
Refiners in India have placed orders for at least 40 million barrels of Russian oil since the invasion on Feb. 24. Reuters calculations based on information from crude tenders and traders show. The purchases are for loading in the June quarter.
That compares with total imports of Russian oil into India of 16 million barrels in the whole of last year, according to Reuters calculations.
Reuters data shows, purchases of Russian barrels by private refiners, including Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy, outstrip imports by state refiners like Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp, and Bharat Petroleum Corp.
Indian companies are buying Russian oil on a delivered basis, with sellers arranging for shipping and insurance.
Western sanctions against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine, have prompted many oil importers to shun trade with Moscow, pushing Russian crude's discount to other grades to record levels.
Russia is giving discounts to India of up to $35 per barrel on crude oil prices prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
India buys roughly 80% of its oil from other countries, making it one of the most vulnerable countries in Asia to rising oil costs.
Russia currently accounts for less than three percent of India's total 80 percent oil imports.
Historically, India has been purchasing a lower amount of oil from Russia, mainly due to high transportation costs.
Washington has already said it does not object to New Delhi buying Russian oil below market rates, but warned against a steep rise in imports as that could hamper the U.S. response to the war in Ukraine.
In the Russia-Ukraine war, India has so far taken a neutral stance. It is one of the few countries not to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. India also voted "no" on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia's aggression against Ukraine.