India seeks Russian oil at less than $70 a barrel: Report

India, among the few remaining buyers of Russian crude, is seeking this discount at a time when Brent is currently trading at around $105 a barrel

Flow of Russian oil to India is not under sanctions yet, but tightening international restrictions and pressure on US pressure on New Delhi are making the trade more difficult

India is trying to get more discounts on Russian oil, according to sources quoted in a NDTV report. India is seeking Russian cargoes at less than $70 a barrel on a delivered basis, sources told Bloomberg.  Global benchmark Brent is currently trading near $105 a barrel.

Both state and private refiners in the world’s third-biggest oil importer have bought more than 40 million barrels of Russian crude since the invasion of Ukraine in late February, the people said. That’s 20 per cent more than Russia-to-India flows for the whole of 2021, according to Bloomberg calculations based on trade ministry data.

Also read: Zelenskyy: Russian oil ban key step to peace

India — which imports more than 85 per cent of its oil — is among the few remaining buyers of Russian crude, a key source of revenue for Vladimir Putin’s regime. Evaporating European demand is putting severe pressure on Russia’s oil industry, with the government forecasting output could drop by as much as 17 per cent this year.

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Resisting US pressure

Flow of Russian oil to India is not under sanctions yet, but tightening international restrictions in areas such as marine insurance and pressure on New Delhi from the US are making the trade more difficult. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has so far resisted Western encouragement to scale back its relationship with Moscow because of the opportunity to get heavily discounted oil. India is also highly dependent on imports of Russian weapons.

India’s state-run refiners can take about 15 million barrels a month — about a tenth of overall imports — if Russia agrees to the price demands and delivers the oil to India, the sources said. Government-affiliated processors will stand to benefit from any potential agreement, they said. Private refiners such as Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy typically procure their feedstock individually.

The Indian government didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment, the report added.

Also read: Why India is shopping for Russian oil, and why the West is upset

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