India’s oil imports from Russia fall in October: data
India’s Russian oil imports eased in October after prices climbed although supply from Saudi Arabia rose, according to preliminary data from ship tracking agencies Kpler and Vortexa.
India, the world’s third biggest importer and consumer of oil, has been binging on Russian oil sold at a discount after Russia was shunned by some western countries following its invasion of Ukraine last year.
However, Indian refiners have slowed Russian oil imports in recent months from the nearly 2 million barrels per (bpd) peak seen earlier this year as discounts have narrowed.
Data from Kpler and Vortexa showed a 12% and 8% decline in India’s monthly intake of Russian oil in October from the previous month to 1.57 million bpd and 1.49 million bpd, respectively.
LSEG data shows a marginal growth as it has revised down its September Russian oil arrival into India. The agencies revise oil flows data during the month.
Discounts for Russian oil have narrowed as global oil prices have risen following voluntary oil output cuts by Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Indian refiners buy Russian oil on a delivered basis and pay for the cargoes after their discharge depending on the terms of the contract and volatility in crude oil markets push up the landed prices.
India’s oil imports from Russia are set to rebound again in November, said Viktor Katona, lead crude analyst with Kpler.
“In the first three days of November, there are 10 laden tankers arriving to Indian refiners from Russia, so the weaker October result will be offset by a stronger November as several cargoes slipped into next month,” he said.
India’s Russia oil imports were also hit by a month-long maintenance at Reliance Industries’ refineries.
“The refinery is (back) in full swing already so numbers should be much stronger next month,” Katona added.
The three agencies estimated a significant increase in India’s intake of Saudi Arabia’s oil in October as refiners catch up on term purchases.
Narrowing discounts on Russian oil push Indian refiners to increase purchases from Middle East producers and lift volumes committed under the annual deals. Indian refiners mostly have annual contracts with key Middle East producers such as Saudi Arabia.