India rejects accusations of politicizing oil purchases in Russia

According to the Indian Foreign Minister, the increase in Russian oil purchases is not related to politicization, but is a consequence of a less open market and the increased needs of India itself

India is not involved in the politicization of Russian oil purchases, and the increase in purchases was due to the fact that world markets have become less open. This was stated at the international forum Globsec 2022 by Indian Foreign Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar.

“Even today, Europe buys [Russian] oil. Europe buys gas. I just reviewed the new package of sanctions [on Russia]. The package is now designed to take into account the welfare of [Europe's] population <…> Now, with regard to our oil purchases, we do not send people with an offer to go and buy Russian oil. We send people asking to buy oil. So I don't think they would give it political overtones, — he said.

Jaishankar also noted that statements about a nine-fold increase in oil supplies from Russia to India this year compared to last year do not fully reflect the situation. “[Oil shipments] have grown nine-fold from very little supply [from Russia]. And it was a very small amount of supply, because at that time the markets were more open, — added the minister.

India— one of the largest consumers of oil in the world, imports account for about 85% of its total consumption. The country needs 5 million barrels of oil every day.

In mid-April, Bloomberg reported that India had doubled its purchases of Russian oil despite US warnings. The agency noted that the country is buying up all the main grades of oil from Moscow— from the flagship oil Urals to the Siberian oil grade ESPO. At the same time, according to Indian officials and traders, state-owned refiners are now considering entering into private deals instead of purchasing through public tenders to get better prices.

Before that, US President Joe Biden told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that buying oil from Russia was not in India's interests. Biden also added that the US is ready to help the country diversify its energy imports, but sanctions on Russian oil make it cheap and attractive.

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In early March, Bloomberg, citing sources, reported that India is seeking an increase in the discount on Russian oil and wants to buy it for less than $70 per barrel. At that time, Brent oil was trading at around $108 per barrel. The agency also reported that Russia offered India a new payment scheme, according to which India could pay for Russian oil in dollars and euros, and for other goods— in rubles or rupees.

Since the beginning of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, many countries, including the EU and the US, have already introduced several packages of sanctions against Moscow. The United States, in particular, in early March, imposed an embargo on Russian food. On May 30, the EU also agreed on another package of sanctions, including a gradual phase-out of Russian oil.

According to Bloomberg estimates, Russia's losses due to a partial embargo on Russian oil will amount to about $22 billion a year. At the same time, the Kremlin previously ruled out the possibility of selling Russian oil at a loss. “Of course, Russia will not sell anything at a loss. In any case, if somewhere demand is reduced, then somewhere it increases. There is a reorientation of streams»,— said the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov.

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