The pressure on India to stop buying Russian oil has risen in the wake of the increasing attacks on Ukraine.
Due to which Russia has offered India deep discounts on the direct sale of oil as Russia faces international pressure that lowers the appetite for its barrels elsewhere following the Russia - Ukraine war, reported livemint.
The sanctions-hit nation is offering its flagship Urals grade to India at discounts of as much as $35 a barrel on prices before the war to lure India to lift more shipments, the people said, asking not to be identified as discussing confidential deliberations. Brent prices have risen about $10 since then, implying an even larger reduction from current prices.
Russia wants India to take 15 million barrels contracted for this year just to begin with, they said, and the talks are taking place at the government level.
Asia’s No. 2 oil importer is among a handful of nations that have been doubling down on Russian crude, defying international pressure and sanctions. Russian barrels have been flowing to Asia in greater volumes as buyers across Europe and the U.S. shun the supply following the invasion of Ukraine. India and China are the major buyers of oil from Russia.
Russia has also offered rupee-ruble-denominated payments using Russia’s messaging system SPFS, which could make trading more attractive for India, says Russia. No final decision has been taken and the matter will probably be discussed when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in India for a two-day visit on Thursday.
The direct purchase is expected to involve Russia’s Rosneft PJSC and the Asian nation’s biggest processor Indian Oil Corp., which have an optional term contract — that’s rarely used — for close to 15 million barrels a year. It is not clear what the upper end of the buyer might be, but India is thought to have a limited appetite for the prices and volumes being offered by Russia.
That contract has a built-in clause that Indian Oil will buy only when it’s economical, the people said, adding a discount offered by Russia could make the oil trade viable even at a higher freight.
Representatives for Indian Oil didn’t immediately reply to calls seeking comment and India’s Oil Ministry declined to comment.
The two sides are exploring routing the oil through Russia’s Vladivostok Port in the far east to avoid shipping hurdles from the Baltic Sea in the west of the country. From there, oil shipments could reach India’s east coast refineries in fewer than 20 days, they said.
India is also seeking to push for greater exports of medicines, engineering goods, and chemicals to Russia to narrow its trade gap created by oil and arms purchases.
Since the beginning of the war, Urals crude has been selling at a discount. In a pricing window organized by S&P Global Platts last week, Litasco, the trading arm of Russia's Lukoil PJSC, offered a cargo of Urals at a discount of $31.35 to the Dated Brent benchmark. There were no bids, and the price was lower than a record-low offer made by Glencore Plc just over a week ago. China purchases a different grade of Russian oil.