Why India's oil purchase from Russia declined: Hardeep Singh Puri explains - Hindustan Times

Why India's oil purchase from Russia declined: Hardeep Singh Puri explains

ByVaishnawi Sinha
Jan 04, 2024 09:28 AM IST

After a drop in the crude oil imports in India, Union minister Hardeep Puri clarified that it is not because of "payment issues" between India and Russia.

Union minister of petroleum and natural gas Hardeep Singh Puri said crude oil supply in India from Russia has not dropped because of the payment-related issues. Indian refiners curbed crude imports as discounts on cargoes weren’t attractive, the minister said.

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri
Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri

India is one of the largest importers of crude oil in the world, but its imports from Russia significantly decreased over the past few months. While payment issues were being reported, the minister clarified that it was purely due to a reduction in discounts on cargoes.

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"There is only one requirement that Indian consumers get the energy at the most economical price without disruption. Russian imports had gone up to 40 per cent. Now if they have come down to 33 per cent or 28-29 per cent, is it not a question of payment problem? There is no payment problem. It is a pure function of the price at which our refiners will buy it," he said, reported PTI.

The minister said that New Delhi has started diversifying its oil import options, and the country will always purchase crude oil from vendors offering it at the cheapest rates.

"We are buying 1.5 million barrels per day of oil from Russia. 1.5 million barrels per day out of 5 million barrels per day consumption (in India)," Puri said. "If they don't give a discount, why would we buy it?"

After many countries imposed sanctions on Russia during the Ukraine war, the country started offering its oil at heavy discounts. Due to the attractive pricing, India soon became the largest vendor of crude oil in Russia.

No petrol, diesel price change in India

After the drone attack on shipping vessels in the Red Sea and the recent truckers' protest in India, speculations of petrol prices going up arose. However, Hardeep Puri said the Red Sea attack will have no impact on the fuel supply in India.

The Union minister said some suppliers have changed their route and are now going through the Cape of Good Hope. Avoiding the Red Sea and Suez Canal would mean a longer voyage but this is offset by not having to pay the Suez Canal transit fee. "So it balances out," he said.

There were also reports that the Centre will cut petrol and diesel prices ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, with the finance ministry preparing a proposal on the same. However, Puri clarified that the Centre has no such plans.

(With inputs from PTI)

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