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India’s oil imports from Russia rebound in November – data

India’s Russian oil imports rebounded in November after several plants came back online from planned maintenance and as fuel consumption rose during the Diwali festive season, preliminary data from ship-tracking firms Kpler and Vortexa showed.

The world’s third-biggest importer and consumer of oil has boosted purchases of Russian oil sold at a discount after imports from Russia were shunned by some Western countries following its invasion of Ukraine last year.

Data from Kpler and Vortexa showed a 9% and 5% rise in India’s monthly intake of Russian oil in November from the previous month to 1.73 million barrels per day(bpd) and 1.68 million bpd, respectively.

The data from both agencies included one cargo of Kazakh CPC blend of crude, with Kpler putting the volume at 27,000 bpd.

Revised October imports from Russia stood at 1.58 million bpd, according to Kpler data and 1.6 million bpd by Vortexa’s estimates. The agencies revise oil flow data during the month.

Imports are still lower than the nearly 2 million bpd peak in Mayas discounts have narrowed sharply.

“India has been roaring back to strength ever since its autumn refinery maintenance period was completed by early November, so now almost every refiner is ramping up runs to satiate growing domestic demand,” Kpler’s crude analyst Viktor Katona said.

“Urals delivered to India still comes in at around -$4 to -$5 per barrel to Dubai, so it maintains a competitive edge over term deals from the Middle East,” Katona added.

Indian refiners mostly have annual contracts with key Middle East producers such as Saudi Arabia. Both agencies noted a more than 25% decline in India’s intake of Saudi oil in November versus October.

December imports may come in around 1.7-1.8 million bpd or even higher, as diesel consumption in India reaches its seasonal peak, Kpler’s Katona said.

However, the possibility of cargoes getting caught up in U.S. sanctions may limitrefiners’ appetite, he added.

The United States sanctioned three oil tankers that regularly shipped Sokol crude from Russia’s Far East to Indian Oil Corp IOC.NS, the country’s top refiner in recent months.

One of them, NS Century, is yet to discharge its cargo despite signalling earlier that it will offload it at Vadinar port in Gujarat on Nov. 25, LSEG and Kpler data showed.

The tanker was last seen near Colombo, Sri Lanka, according to the data.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Mohi Narayan; Editing by Florence Tan and Eileen Soreng)

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