India has increased purchases from almost nothing to close to 2 million barrels per day (mb/d), while China has raised liftings by 500 kb/d to 2.2 mb/d, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) says in its Oil Market report.

In May 2023, India and China accounted for almost 80% of Russian crude oil exports. In turn, Russia made up 45% and 20% of crude imports in India and China, respectively.

"Heavily discounted Russian crude oil has found new buyers primarily in Asia," says the report, adding that despite the growth in global crude production and exports, by 2028 China will account for one-third of total traded crude volumes, while India takes up another 17%.

"This evolution, accelerated by the pandemic, will require a build-out in the infrastructure and services to accommodate these flows."

Russia’s share in India’s crude oil imports soared to 19.1% from 2% a year ago, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data. "In 2022-23, there was a change in the sources of India’s crude imports. Russia’s share in India’s crude imports soared to 19.1 per cent from 2.0 per cent a year ago," the RBI also said.

The country-wise import data shows Russia gaining the biggest share of the crude pie in FY23, while crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. showed a slight decline. The crude oil imports from Iraq and the U.A.E. remained almost the same as the previous fiscal year. Moreover, India's combined crude oil imports from other nations declined in FY23 as compared to FY22.

Growth in world oil demand is set to lose momentum over the 2022-28 forecast period as the energy transition gathers pace, with an overall peak looming on the horizon, IEA says. "Led by continued increases in petrochemical feedstocks, total oil consumption growth will remain narrowly positive through 2028 as usage rises to 105.7 mb/d, 5.9 mb/d above 2022 levels."

Crucially, however, demand for oil from combustible fossil fuels, which excludes biofuels, petrochemical feedstocks, and other non-energy uses, is expected to hit its apex at 81.6 mb/d during the final year of our forecast. This milestone marks a historic pivot towards lower-emission sources, says the global agency.

As per the IEA, some economies like China and India will continue to register growth throughout the forecast. "By contrast, the OECD as a whole may crest to its peak this year – a harbinger of the sweeping impact of mounting vehicle efficiencies and electrification. "

Besides, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an advocacy and research group that claims to have started in Helsinki in December 2019, recently accused five countries led by India and China of 'laundering' sanctions against Russia by importing crude from Russia and selling refined products in 'price cap coalition' countries, mostly in Europe.

Terming the five oil-exporting countries -- China, India, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore as "laundromat countries", the report says India exported the highest volume of oil products to price cap coalition countries, one year since Russia’s invasion.

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