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Russia is finding loopholes around the energy bans

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU was the single largest buyer of Russian crude oil and oil products, accounting for nearly half of these exports.

However, since 2022, several countries, like the U.S. and Canada, as well as the EU, have imposed trade sanctions against Russia, with the aim of diverting funds from the country’s military attacks in Ukraine.

Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak told Rossiya-24 television in December, that Europe's share of oil and petroleum exports accounted for no more than 4% to 5% of total supplies in 2023.

Novak added that China and India — which have not cut ties with Russia — have become major trade partners instead. "There were virtually no exports to India before. Over the past two years, the total share of exports to India increased to about 40%."

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Why India is capitalizing on Russian crude

Despite the EU curtailing energy trades with Russia, it’s coming full circle after all. Indian refiners are reportedly purchasing Russian crude at a discount and then selling the refined oil in other markets, such as Europe, where there’s major demand for diesel.

“The 1.6-1.8 million barrels a day of Russian crude that Indian refiners buy creates a competitive edge that others do not have,” Viktor Katona, lead crude analyst at Kpler, told Bloomberg in November.

While India banks more on Russian crude, OPEC’s share of oil imports in the South Asian country plunged to a record low of about 49.6% in the first nine months of this fiscal year from April, compared with 64.5% the previous year, Reuters reports.


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About the Author

Serah Louis

Serah Louis


Serah Louis is a reporter with She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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