Moscow’s share in the South Asian nation’s oil imports rose to a record level in June, according to trade data

India’s oil imports from Russia soared to a record of around 950,000 barrels per day (bpd) in June, accounting for nearly a fifth of its overall imports, Reuters reported on Monday, citing data provided by trade sources.

The report indicated that Indian refiners have been buying up Russian oil sold at hefty discounts to Brent and crude from the Middle East. According to data, crude imports from Russia jumped 15.5% in June from May, while those from Iraq and Saudi Arabia dropped by 10.5% and 13.5%, respectively, dragging the share of the Middle East to 56.5% from 59.3%.

Russia continued to be the second largest oil supplier to India after Iraq, while Saudi Arabia remained in the third spot for the second month in a row.

Western sanctions on Moscow have created an opportunity for Indian refiners to increase purchases of Russian oil at discounted prices, while some European customers have been shunning direct purchases from Russia.

Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, Russian oil made up just 0.2% of all oil imported by India. During April-June (the first quarter of India’s fiscal year), the country’s oil imports from Russia rocketed to 682,200 bpd from 22,500 bpd in the same period last year, data showed.


READ MORE: India eyes bigger stakes in Russian oilfields – media

India, the world’s third largest oil consumer, has come under fire from the West for its continued purchases of Russian oil. However, New Delhi has defended its purchase of “cheap” Russian oil, saying it provided only a fraction of the country’s overall needs and a sudden stop would drive up costs for its consumers.

India’s oil ministry confirmed earlier that “energy purchases from Russia remain minuscule in comparison to India’s total consumption.”

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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