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India Temporarily Reduces Crude Oil Imports from Russia for Refinery Maintenance

India recently witnessed a temporary decline in its seaborne crude oil imports from Russia in October, primarily due to essential maintenance work undertaken at the country’s refineries.

A report has highlighted that India’s maritime crude oil imports from Russia experienced an 11% decrease, averaging 1.58 million barrels per day in October. Notably, Reliance Industries, one of India’s leading conglomerates, acquired the smallest quantity of crude oil since September 2022. This decline in imports can be attributed to the scheduled maintenance of multiple units at its Jamnagar refinery.

Kepler, an influential player in the energy sector, has observed that India, along with China, remains a pivotal buyer of Russian crude oil. This is especially significant given the global context, where several developed nations have chosen to boycott imports of Russian crude oil in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. For India, the lower prices of Russian crude oil provide a lucrative opportunity to bolster profits within its refineries. However, this is anticipated to be a temporary reduction, as Russian oil imports are expected to rebound to approximately 1.8 million barrels per day in the current month.

Conversely, India’s overall oil imports experienced a 6% surge, reaching 4.4 million barrels per day in October. This uptick can be attributed to the successful completion of refinery maintenance missions across various facilities. Notably, crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia nearly doubled, a move stemming from a realignment of monthly import volumes by the Indian government refinery group to harmonize with annual purchase contracts, surpassing imports from Iraq.

The report, based on insights from Mr. Katonawa, indicates that ten Russian tankers are scheduled to deliver approximately 11 million barrels of crude oil to India within the first three days of the current month. This underscores India’s intent to maintain a strategic approach to its crude oil imports, balancing refinery maintenance with the opportunity for enhanced profitability.

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