Russia’s ‘friendly’ oil exports to India have surged by a factor of 22.

Russia's 'friendly' oil exports

Historically, the United States and Saudi Arabia have been India’s primary sources of crude oil imports. Now, compared to the previous month, imports of Saudi oil are down 16%, while those of US oil are down 38%.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that oil shipments to New Delhi grew 22-fold last year, acknowledging the challenges being faced by the Russian energy industry in the wake of Russia’s military action against Ukraine.

Novak has indicated that Moscow needs to prioritise increasing energy exports to ‘friendly’ countries in light of the difficulties posed by Western sanctions. Russia has been cutting oil output by 500,000 barrels per day since March. In the end, they agreed to push the deadline back to June.

The Deputy Prime Minister has stated that this decision was made to ensure consistent supplies to international markets at lower prices. After peaking in February at 10.2 million barrels per day, production has dropped to 9.7 million.

In 2022, Russia shipped 67 million metric tonnes of oil to China’s capital city of Beijing. After receiving 1.4 million barrels per day from Moscow in January, India imported 1.6 million barrels per day in February.

India’s imports from Russia have increased from less than one percent before the Russia-Ukraine war in February of last year to more than thirty-five percent currently. In the past, India has relied more on importing crude oil from countries like Saudi Arabia and the USA. Currently, importing oil from Saudi Arabia is down 16% month-over-month, while importing oil from the US is down 38%.

Nearing 400 days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, there are still no clear resolutions in sight. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed that his country’s plans to deploy nuclear tactical weapons in neighbouring Belarus are unaffected by criticism from the West.

Russia submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council (UNSC) in September demanding an impartial investigation into the explosions at the Nord Stream petrol pipelines.