Russia’s share in India’s crude oil imports soared to 19.1% from 2.0% a year ago, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) says in its latest annual report. "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 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.

In value terms, crude oil imports were the highest in December 2022 at slightly less than $20 billion. In volume terms, crude oil imports were the highest at over 30 million tonnes in December, followed by March 2022 at over 25 million tonnes.

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, accuses 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.

India shipped 14.8 million tonnes, representing a 2.4% increase on the prior year in volume terms but a 48% rise in value terms. UAE, China, and Singapore followed as the largest oil products exporters one-year post-invasion, selling 14.2 million tonnes, 7.5 million tonnes, and 7.1 million tonnes respectively to price cap coalition countries.

India's imports from Russia range from petroleum and other fuels, fertilisers, coffee, tea, and spices. The price of crude oil and petroleum products in the international markets fluctuates depending on various factors i.e. demand-supply, geopolitical factors, and other market conditions.

The prices of petrol and diesel in the country are linked to the prices of respective products in the international market and not to the crude oil prices. While the crude oil prices have declined from $84.67/bbl in January 2022 to $80.92/bbl in January 2023, international product prices of petrol have slightly gone down from $96.16/bbl to $95.59/bbl and prices of diesel have increased from $97.09/bbl to $111.22/bbl during the corresponding period, the government data shows.

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