Russia’s crude oil inflow to India is expected to reach 3.36 million tons May, according to Refinitiv estimates. This is nearly nine times higher than the 2021 monthly average of 382,500 metric tons.
Part of the reason for the price difference: The West shunned Russian oil. On Monday, the European Union agreed to ban 90 percent of Russian oil imports by the end of the year. Europe is the biggest buyer of Russian energy.
Embargoes from huge importers like Europe will weigh on the Russian economy, but Moscow has found other buyers in Asia.
Crude oil flows from Russia to India surged to 1.01 million tonnes in April from 430,000 tonnes in March, according to Refinitiv data.
India’s oil and gas ministry did not immediately respond to questions about the impact the partial EU ban would have on the South Asian economy’s oil ties with Moscow.
In early May, India downplayed its import peak. The oil and gas ministry said in a statement that the country imports oil from all over the world, including large quantities from the United States.
“Despite attempts to describe it otherwise, energy purchases from Russia remain insignificant compared to India’s total consumption,” the ministry said in a statement. “Legal energy deals in India cannot be politicized,” it added.
EU pushes forward with partial ban
Despite a surge in Asian purchases of Russian crude, the European Union decided on Monday to block most purchases until the end of the year.
According to Eurostat, Russian crude oil will account for 27% of EU imports in 2021.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference that the use of tankers to transport Russian oil will be banned, while the southern section of the Druzhba pipeline will be exempted.
The northern section of the pipeline serves Poland and Germany, which agreed to the embargo. The south goes into Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, which account for 10% of Russia’s oil imports.
Most of Russia’s oil exports to Europe are shipped to the EU via pipelines. Getting that oil to Asian markets takes years to build with expensive new infrastructure.
— CNN’s Julia Horowitz and Vedika Sud contributed to this report