India imported nearly 2 million barrels of crude oil per day from Russia in May, notching a new record, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing ship-tracking data.
Flows of Russian oil to New Delhi surged by 15% last month compared to April, reaching 1.96 million barrels per day (bpd) and putting a dent in the share of imports from OPEC’s major oil producer, Saudi Arabia, data from Vortexa showed.
Saudi crude exports to India have plunged to their lowest levels since 2021, according to Bloomberg.
Analysts have cited discounts as the key reason for the rise in imports from Russia. The average cost of oil from the sanctioned country was $68.21 a barrel in April, according to data from India’s Ministry of Commerce.
“Indian refiners continue to show a voracious appetite for Russian crude given their discounts relative to Middle Eastern supplies,” Vortexa analyst Serena Huang said, as per Russian news network RT report.
She added that imports of Urals and Sokol grades saw their biggest gains last month, and overall volumes are likely to grow in June and July.
The average cost of Saudi Arabian crude imported by India in April was $86.96 a barrel, while Iraqi oil was priced at $77.77 per barrel.
Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, signed an agreement in March with India’s top refiner, Indian Oil Corp, to substantially increase oil supplies and diversify oil grades delivered to India.