Indian refiners have been buying cheap Russian oil in such large quantities – 800,000 barrels a day in May – that there is increasing concern that some may be shipping refined Russian crude back to Europe.
Reliance Industries’ Jamnagar refinery in Gujarat received 27% of its oil from Russia in May, up from 5% in April, according to a report by the Guardian, which noted that the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air said about 20% of Jamnagar’s exports “left for the Suez canal, indicating that they were heading to Europe or the US.”
There was no evidence that these shipments included Russian oil, it said, although industry sources explained that there were many tricks that could disguise the source of oil, such as blending crude from different countries, oil being switched from Russian ships to other vessels while at sea, and doing deals in yuan instead of dollars.
The United States is well aware that Russia’s trade in oil has shot up with both China and India, and is undermining the impact of Western sanctions on Russia.
Modi to Face US, EU Lobbying
US National Security coordinator John Kirby said on Saturday that given Delhi is a close security partner they hoped that countries such as India can “help increase the costs and consequences of the war” in Ukraine on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The issue is likely to be one of many that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who flew to Munich on Sunday, will discuss when he meets with G7 leaders at the summit.
“I’ll let Indian leaders speak for themselves here, but obviously, what President Biden is focused on, what the administration is focused on, is making sure that the costs keep rising for Putin, that it’s harder for him to wage war. And obviously, we want to see all nations participate in those kinds of efforts,” Kirby was quoted as saying.
India’s Shipping Register Helping Russian Tankers
Aside from purchase of Russian oil, the Indian Register of Shipping has helped to keep Russia’s Sovcomflot’s tanker fleet afloat and ensured it can continue exports of Russian oil.
The register, known as IRClass, certifies that ships are safe and seaworthy, which is essential for securing insurance and for gaining access to ports.
IRClass has certified more than 80 ships managed by SCF Management Services (Dubai), a United Arab Emirates-based entity listed as a subsidiary on Sovcomflot’s website.
• Jim Pollard
ALSO on AF: