India’s Russian oil imports climbed to a record 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, up 9.2% from December, with Moscow still the top monthly oil seller to New Delhi, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia, data from trade sources showed.
Last month Russian oil accounted for about 27% of the 5 million bpd of crude imported by India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, the data showed.
India’s oil imports typically rise in December and January as state-run refiners avoid maintenance shutdowns in the first quarter to meet their annual production targets fixed by the government.
Refiners in India, which rarely used to buy Russian oil because of costly logistics, have emerged as Russia’s key oil client, snapping up discounted crude shunned by Western nations since the invasion of Ukraine last February.
Last month India’s imports of Russian Sokol crude oil were the highest so far at 100,900 bpd, as output from the Sakhalin 1 field resumed under a new Russian operator, the data showed.
In January, India’s imports of oil from Canada rose to 314,000 bpd as Reliance Industries boosted purchases of long-haul crude, the data showed.
Canada emerged as the fifth-largest supplier to India in January after the United Arab Emirates, the data showed.
India’s Iraqi oil imports in January rose to a seven-month high of 983,000 bpd, up 11% from December, the data showed.
During April-January, the first ten months of this fiscal year, Iraq continued to be the largest oil supplier to India, while Russia became the second-biggest supplier, replacing Saudi Arabia which is now in third place, the data showed.
Higher purchases of Russian oil dragged down Indian imports from the Middle East to an all time low of 48% and member nations of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) declined to the lowest ever, the data showed.
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