India, the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, has increased its crude purchases from Russia to a record high of 37 million tons in the first five months of 2023, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Industry and Trade. This is nearly 11 times higher than the same period last year, and more than the total imports for the whole of 2022.
Russia has become India’s top crude supplier, surpassing Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which were the leading sources of oil for India in previous years. Russia accounted for 46% of India’s total oil imports in May, compared to less than 2% prior to Western sanctions.
The surge in Russian oil imports is driven by several factors, including the low price and high quality of Russian crude, the geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine, and India’s energy security and economic interests.