US imported more fuel from Russia than India

NEW DELHI: For all the noise from the West over India’s oil imports from Russia, it has now emerged that not just European countries but even the US shipped more fossil fuels than India since Moscow attacked Ukraine.
A report by think-tank Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) showed an uptick in Russian oil shipments to India and Egypt in the months after the conflict began. The situation is set to change.
Indian government officials said the “hefty discount” – which some western agency reports pegged as high as $30 per barrel – has become not so attractive for Indian buyers as they are being asked to take delivery and then ship it.
“You need to add the shipping cost, insurance and the war premium, (then find a willing insurer), which doesn’t leave much on the table,” an official familiar with the thinking in the government said.
Russian authorities had proposed to the government that they were willing to offer a discount on crude as they battle sanctions that do not apply to energy, food and pharma products.
Indian state-run companies and private sector Reliance had bought an aggregate 30 million barrels of Russian crude since the conflict broke out. This drew sharp criticism from US president Joe Biden and other European leaders. India has maintained that it will secure its interests, while calling for an end to the war and advocating diplomacy.
The CREA report pointed out that in the two months since the invasion of Ukraine, 71% of the 63 billion euro worth of fossil fuels – crude, oil products, piped gas, LNG and coal – exported by Russia were to European countries, with Germany on top (see graphic). However, shipments were lower than the pre-war period.
It noted that there was a sharp rise in vessels leaving Russia without a definite destination. “Oil shipments to India, Egypt and other ‘unusual’ destinations for Russian exports have attracted a lot of attention, and our data shows a clear pick-up from a base of almost zero. However, the shipments to these new destinations are by far not sufficient to make up for even the modest fall in exports to Europe,” the think-tank said. In case of India, in the first three weeks of April, compared to January-February, there was a 130% rise in coal shipments and a 340% jump for crude.