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India buys Russian oil for the first time in 2 months: what has changed

Indian refineries resume purchasing oil from the aggressor country
Indian refineries resume purchasing oil from the aggressor country. Source: Freepik

This week, Indian Oil Corp. resumed purchasing Russian crude oil through the sanctioned Russian company Sovcomflot. This may be a reaction to the US's condescending rhetoric on oil exports from Russia.

According to Bloomberg, on May 2, the Suezmax tanker "Vladimir Tikhonov" unloaded about 1 million barrels of Russia's flagship Urals oil in the Indian port of Paradip, where Indian Oil's refinery is located.

"The Vladimir Tikhonov" is the first "Sovcomflot" tanker to deliver crude oil to India after another vessel, the SCF Baltica, unloaded 90,000 tons of fuel oil in Gujarat last week.

This reinforces the idea that India is resuming oil purchases from Russia through "Sovcomflot", which has been under US sanctions since February 23. In addition, the acceptance of a Sovcomflot tanker by India's largest refinery is important because it may encourage other smaller refineries to use Sovcomflot vessels to purchase oil from Russia.

Due to the sanctions imposed by the United States and the G7 countries, Indian refineries decided in March to stop shipping oil on "Radcomflot" tankers. But the situation changed after a March visit to India by U.S. officials, where they expressed their desire for stable global oil supplies and urged India to cut back on Russian oil imports.

According to the analytical company Kpler, India's average daily oil imports from Russia in April reached a 9-month high, exceeding 1.9 million barrels. In particular, the supply of Urals and Sokol oil increased sharply compared to the previous month. At the same time, purchases of raw materials from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which are the second and third largest oil suppliers to India, respectively, decreased.

Meanwhile, at least five more "Radcomflot" vessels have indicated India as a destination for Urals oil. And the tanker "Suvorovskiy Prospekt" has already anchored off the country's west coast.

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