Global Economy

Refined Russian petro goods imports rise 14% in May

India‘s import of refined products from Russia increased by 14% sequentially in May, while that of crude remained flat.Import of refined products increased to 164 thousand barrels per day (TBD) in May from 144 TBD in April on higher imports of naphtha, which more than tripled to 77 TBD, according to energy cargo tracker Vortexa.

Fuel oil and naphtha are the key refined products that India imports from Russia, said Serena Huang, an analyst at Vortexa.

State-run refiners, who account for about a third of the refined products imported from Russia, brought in 77% more Russian products in May.

India’s imports of Russian products in May were 30% lower than China’s and 70% lower than Europe’s. In the same month, China’s import of Russian products was down 37% sequentially to 238 TBD while that of Europe was 12% higher at 548 TBD.

Before the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in February 2022, India imported little refined products or crude oil from Russia. But imports of both crude and products rose sharply after Russia invaded Ukraine. India is a heavy importer of crude but a net exporter of refined products. It mainly exports diesel, petrol and jet fuel while importing LPG, fuel oil and bitumen.In May, India imported 1.7 million barrels per day of crude from Russia, 1.5% lower than the volume in April. On the other hand, Russia’s share in Indian imports marginally declined to 37.9% in May from 38.1% in April.

“Russian crude remains attractive to Indian refiners, amidst tight Middle East sour crude supplies. With Russian crude exports declining this month amidst the restart of domestic refinery capacities, we could expect lower arrivals into India in the months ahead,” said Vortexa’s Huang.

Drone strikes by Ukraine had reduced Russian refinery runs, leaving more supplies for exports. Now some of those supplies are returning to Russian refineries.

India’s crude imports from Iraq rose by 16% in May to 935 TBD, while those from Saudi Arabia fell by 10% to 606 TBD. Imports doubled from the US while rising 7% from the UAE and 3.5% from African nations. Iraq’s share in Indian crude imports expanded to 20.6% in May from 17.6% in April, while that of Saudi Arabia declined to 13.3% from 14.7%. The UAE’s share increased to 7.5% from 7% and that of the US rose to 4.9% from 2.4%. Africa’s increased to 7.4% from 7%.

India’s overall crude imports in May stood at 4.5 million barrels a day, down by 1% sequentially.


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