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India's oil imports from Russia jumped to 18% of crude purchases in July

Russia, India's second-largest source of petroleum crude, is on track to overtake the leader, Iraq, in the coming months

September 15, 2022 / 12:48 PM IST
Representative Image

Representative Image

India's import of Russian oil rose to nearly 18 percent of its total petroleum crude imports in July in value terms, according to the latest commerce ministry data.

As per the data, India imported Russian petroleum crude worth $2.88 billion in July, down a marginal 0.4 percent from the June figure of $2.89 billion. However, with India's petroleum crude imports falling by more than a billion dollars in July from June, Russian oil amounted to 17.9 percent - compared to 16.8 percent in June - as a percentage of total petroleum crude imports.

Country-wise import data for August is not yet available.

Provisional data for trade in August, released on September 14, showed imports of petroleum, crude and products increased to $17.7 billion last month from $16.11 billion in July.

The rise in Russian oil imports in recent months has been remarkable, with the Indian government taking advantage of the discounts that have been offered. Last week, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the decision to quickly ramp up Russia's oil imports even in the face of sanctions announced following its invasion of Ukraine in late February.

"Wherever there are sanctions, countries are finding their own ways to get Russian crude, Russian gas. That also is a part of inflation management," the finance minister had added.

In April-July, India’s import of petroleum crude from Russia totalled $8.95 billion. In contrast, the figure for the entirety of FY22 was $9.87 billion.

The pace with which Russia has become a key source of petroleum crude for India can also be gauged by the following: in April, Russian oil made up 8.4 percent of India's total petroleum crude imports. This figure rose to 12.8 percent in May, 16.8 percent in June, and finally 17.9 percent in July.

The rapid rise of Russian oil imports meant it became India's second-largest source of petroleum crude in June after overtaking Saudi Arabia. It is now on track to cross the leader, Iraq, in the coming months.

In July, India imported $3.2 billion worth of petroleum crude from Iraq, just $321.7 million more than what was imported from Russia. In volume terms, oil imported from Iraq exceeded that from Russia by a mere 0.28 million tonne.

Siddharth Upasani is a Special Correspondent at Moneycontrol. He has been covering the Indian economy, economic data, and monetary and fiscal policies for nine years. He tweets at @SiddharthUbiWan. Contact:
first published: Sep 14, 2022 06:42 pm