India’s legitimate energy transactions must not be politicized and countries that are self-sufficient in crude oil or import it from Russia cannot credibly argue for restrictive trade, government sources said Friday.
India must continue to focus on competitive energy sources and welcome offers from all oil producers as geopolitical developments have presented major challenges to the country’s energy security, they said.
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India’s strong defense of oil imports from Russia has come amid mounting unrest among some western powers over New Delhi’s indication to take Russia’s offer to sell crude oil at much lower rates.
Russia has made an offer to India and many other countries after the United States banned all Russian oil and gas imports last week over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“India must continue to focus on competitive energy sources. We welcome such offers from all producers. Indian traders are also active in the global energy markets to explore the best options,” said a source.
The sources said the jump in oil prices after the Ukraine conflict has increased India’s challenges and pressure for competitive sourcing has naturally increased.
“Countries that are self-sufficient in oil or that import themselves from Russia cannot credibly argue for restrictive trade. India’s legitimate energy transactions must not be politicized,” the source said.
The Indian Oil Corporation reportedly bought three million (30 lakh) barrels of Russian crude at a discounted price last week.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that India’s acceptance of Russia’s discounted crude oil offer would not violate US sanctions against Moscow, but underlined that countries should also think about “where you want to be” amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday the United Kingdom wants every country to stop using Russian oil and gas because it finances President Vladimir Putin’s war machine.
Government sources cited above said that Russia has been a fringe supplier of crude oil to India and that it is less than one percent of the country’s needs, adding that there is no government-to-government regulation on imports.
Geopolitical developments have presented significant challenges to India’s energy security. For obvious reasons, the country had to stop sourcing from Iran and Venezuela, and alternative sources have often entailed higher costs, they said.
The sources said that Russian oil and gas is sourced by several countries around the world, especially in Europe.
They said 75 percent of Russia’s total natural gas exports go to OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries in Europe, such as Germany, Italy and France.
Countries such as the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Finland, Lithuania and Romania are also major importers of Russian crude oil, they emphasized.
Recent Western sanctions against Russia have carve-outs to avoid the impact on energy imports from the country and its banks, which are the European Union’s main payment channels for Russian energy imports, are not excluded from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) system, the sources point out.
India relies heavily on imports to meet its energy needs, as nearly 85 percent of its crude oil needs (five million barrels per day) must be imported.
Most of India’s imports come from Western Asia (Iraq 23 percent, Saudi Arabia 18 percent, UAE 11 percent), the sources said, adding that the US has now also become a major source of crude oil for India. .3 percent). †
Foreign Ministry (MEA) spokesman Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday that India as a major oil importer is looking at all options at any time.
“India imports most of its oil needs, it is filled by imports, so we are always exploring all opportunities in the global energy markets because of the situation we face when importing our oil needs,” he said at a media briefing.
“Let me emphasize that a number of countries are doing this, especially in Europe, and for now I will leave it at that. We are a major oil importer and we are looking at all options on all points. We have the energy,” he said.
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