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India purchased record amount of Russian oil in May

India purchased record amount of Russian oil in May India purchased record amount of Russian oil in May 2024 (photo: Getty Images)

India's oil imports from Russia rose to a record 2.1 million barrels per day in May. This is due to a decline in China's demand for Russian oil, states Reuters.

In particular, this increased Russia's share as the world's third largest importer and consumer to almost 41% last month. At the same time, supplies from Saudi Arabia fell to a 10-month low after Saudi Aramco raised its term oil prices for a second month in May.

According to Reuters, refineries in India have pounced on Russian oil, which is being sold at a discount after some European countries refused to buy from Moscow because of its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In addition, similar grades of oil from regions mainly in the Middle East are more expensive.

In May, India shipped about 5.1 million barrels per day of oil, which is about 5.6% more than in April. Imports of Russian oil to India in May increased by 14.7% compared to April and by 5.9% compared to last year.

"Russian oil was available in plenty and at better discounts last month due to lower demand from China," said a representative of an Indian refinery.

Sanctions against Russian oil

Sanctions against Russian oil are an important tool of pressure used by Western countries to limit Russia's funding for the war against Ukraine. Since December 5, 2022, the EU has imposed an embargo on imports of Russian crude oil by sea, and since February 5, 2023, it has expanded it to include petroleum products.

The US also imposed a complete ban on imports of Russian oil and oil products.

These sanctions have led to a significant decline in Russian oil exports to Western countries, forcing Russia to look for new markets, particularly in Asia, or ways to circumvent the sanctions.