There is a raging debate on whether India should buy Russian oil or not, after Western sanctions, including the US’ oil embargo ban, on Moscow in retaliation to its invasion of Ukraine, which is the most significant attack on a European state since World War Two.
Reports have emerged of Indian oil companies finalising deals to purchase Russian crude oil at deep discounts. In an environment where international crude prices have surged to over $100 a barrel – a steep cost for an energy-price sensitive country.
India’s legitimate energy transactions should not be politicised, and countries self-sufficient in oil or those themselves importing from Russia cannot credibly advocate restrictive trading, government sources had said yesterday.
That drew a response from the US, which said India importing discounted crude oil from Russia wouldn’t amount to a violation of sanctions; it would imply supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Asked about a report on India’s possibility to take up the Russian offer of discounted crude oil, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had said earlier in the week, “I don’t believe this would be violating that (sanctions).”
“But also think about where you want to stand when history books are written at this moment in time. Support for the Russian leadership is support for an invasion that obviously has a devastating impact,” Ms Psaki added.
Here is a look at which countries and companies are still buying Russian crude oil:
- Bulgaria: The largest oil refining enterprise on the Balkan peninsula, Neftochim Burgas refinery – owned by Russia’s Lukoil and the primary supplier of fuels in Bulgaria’s domestic market, could use 100 per cent non-Russian crude if need be, up from 40 per cent currently, a government official said.
- China: China is the second-largest Russian oil importer after the European Union, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) says seaborne shipments could even increase. A Reuters report showed that Petro-Logistics, which monitors oil production and is a leading provider of cargo tracking data and trade flow intelligence, is seeing more Russian crude heading to China.
- European Union (EU): The 27-member bloc, which relies on Russia for 40 per cent of its gas and 27 per cent of its crude imports, is split over curbing Russian intake, but a plan to ditch Russian fossil fuels over the long term is expected by the end of May. EU states are set to adopt new sanctions against Russia’s oil majors Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft but will continue to buy oil from them.
- France: Russian crude oil accounted for 9.5 per cent of total imports in 2021. Still, the French Association of Petroleum Industry (Ufip) said alternative supplies could be found, adding it is already moving away from Russian diesel.
- Germany: Russian crude accounts for about 14 per cent of intake at Germany’s largest refinery, MiRO. The Mineraloelraffinerie Oberrhein GmbH (MiRO) Refinery joint venture with Phillips 66, which holds an 18.75 per cent interest. Germany’s PCK Schwedt refinery – a touch over 54 per cent owned by Rosneft Deutschland, which is a subsidiary of Russia-based Rosneft, is fed via the Druzhba pipeline, as well as the landlocked Leuna refinery, majority-owned by TotalEnergies.
- Greece: Hellenic Petroleum, Greece’s biggest oil refiner, said Russian crude accounted for about 15 per cent of its feed in the second half of 2021 but can be replaced. It has already secured additional supplies from Saudi Arabia.
- India: Hindustan Petroleum, India’s state refiner, bought 2 million barrels of Russian Urals for May loading, according to trading sources. Indian Oil Corporation, India’s top refiner, bought 3 million barrels of Urals for May delivery, trade sources said.
- Italy: ISAB, Italy’s largest refinery, owned by Swiss-based Litasco SA, controlled by Lukoil, was working as usual as March 4. It processes various crudes.
- Hungary: MOL, the Hungarian oil group, says it continues to be supplied by the Druzhba pipeline. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has repeatedly opposed sanctions on Russian oil and gas.
- Netherlands: Neither the Dutch government nor Rotterdam Port has banned Russian oil. Around 30 per cent of the oil that goes through Rotterdam is Russian. Around 20 million tonnes of Russian oil products go through the port annually.
- Poland: PKN Orlen, Poland’s largest refiner, has said it is buying Russian crude for its refineries in Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic but was prepared for “any scenario”, including a complete suspension of Russian supply.
- Turkey: Turkey has no plans to stop buying Russian crude and related products. It opposes sanctions on Moscow. Tupras is the largest refiner in Turkey.