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India's Crude Imports from Russia Hit 13-Month High in June: Report

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Russian oil - Sputnik India, 1920, 02.07.2024
Russian refineries are planning to increase their output throughout July and August, which will further diminish the supply of crude oil, according to Viktor Katona, lead crude analyst at Kpler.
India's imports of crude oil from Russia surged to their highest level in 13 months in June, according to data analysed by intelligence firm Vortexa.
The increase in Russia's share of India's oil imports was also influenced by renewed shipments of other grades than Urals, such as Sokol, which faced challenges earlier in the year, the Financial Express reported on Tuesday.
Last month, India imported 2.13 million barrels of crude oil per day from Russia, marking a 7.2% increase from the previous month.
This volume represents the highest since May 2023, when imports from Russia were at 2.15 million barrels per day, reaching a record high in June.

"India’s imports of Urals have reached an all-time high, never on record did Indian refiners buy more than 1.6 million b/d," said Viktor Katona, lead crude analyst at Kpler stated.

Katona mentioned that India has resumed buying Russian grades from the Far East, such as Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean oil pipeline (ESPO) or Sokol, but the quantities purchased are below the average levels seen in 2023.
By contrast, import volumes from Iraq and Saudi Arabia, India's other major crude oil suppliers, fell by a quarter compared to the previous month.
In June, imports from Saudi Arabia totalled only 430,000 barrels per day, marking the lowest monthly volume since January 2014.
Consequently, Saudi Arabia's share of India's crude oil imports fell to 9% last month, down from 11% in May. Similarly, Iraq's market share also declined from 21% in May to 17% in June.
Katona pointed out that even during the Covid-19 pandemic, India imported more oil, significantlyboosting the cost of Saudi crude.

"The Russians have plentiful arguments they can use," he added. "First and foremost, in accordance with OPEC+ commitments, they are cutting production by another 471,000 barrels per day compared to February."

The expert stressed that due to an unexpectedly prolonged winter, the majority of production cuts will occur during May and June, leading to a reduction in available volumes during the summer months.
Russian refineries are also planning to increase their operations in July and August, which will further diminish the supply of crude oil, he suggested.
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