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India's Russian oil import 'minuscule', must not be politicised: Govt

Country's energy needs are enormous, says oil ministry in statement.

India oil imports | Russia Ukraine Conflict | Oil price

PTI  |  New Delhi 

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File photo: Shutterstock

India on Wednesday asserted that its energy purchases from Russia remain 'minuscule' in comparison to its total consumption and that legitimate energy transactions cannot be politicised as energy export from Russia are yet to be sanctioned.

The world's third-biggest oil-consuming and importing nation has in recent weeks snapped few cargoes available from Russia at deep discounts as part of its plans to diversify its import basket. These purchases have been commented upon.

"India's legitimate energy transactions cannot be politicized," the oil ministry said in a statement reacting to such reports. "Energy flows are yet to be sanctioned." It went on to state that the reports "make conjectures and try to sensationalize routine purchase of crude oil by Indian oil companies from Russia based" and this is a part of "a pre-meditated attempt to further destabilize an already fragile global oil market."

"India's energy needs are enormous with daily consumption of around 5 million barrels and a refining capacity of 250 million tonnes per annum," it said. "For energy security and to fulfil its objective of providing energy justice to each of its citizens, Indian energy companies buy from all major oil producers in the world." It, however, did not quantify the purchases made from Russia.

"Our top 10 import destinations are mostly from West Asia. In the recent past, USA has become a major crude oil source for India, supplying almost USD 13 billion worth of energy imports, with almost 7.3 per cent of market share of crude oil imports," the statement said.

India, it said, has been constrained to pay ever-increasing prices charged by certain oil suppliers, which is leading India to diversify its sources of procurement. "Meanwhile, energy demand in India remains inelastic. At the current price levels, many countries in the immediate neighbourhood are facing severe fuel shortages and chaos due to high fuel inflation," it said adding the Government has ensured access to affordable energy to Indian citizens despite challenging times.

The ministry said Indian energy companies have been sourcing energy supplies from Russia, on a sustained basis, over the past several years. "Yearly figures may have varied due to a variety of reasons, including operational necessities." "If suddenly, now, as a huge importer of crude oil, India pulls back on its diversified sources, concentrating on the remaining, in an already constrained market, it will lead to further volatility and instability, jacking up international prices," the statement said justifying purchases from Russia.

"Despite attempts to portray it otherwise, energy purchases from Russia remain minuscule in comparison to India's total consumption," it said calling for attention to be on other countries that are major consumers of energy supplied from Russia.

Speculation on Indian purchases from Russia will "end up serving vested interests including speculators, leading to a negative impact on the global economic recovery," it added.

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First Published: Wed, May 04 2022. 18:12 IST