Asia overtakes Europe as key importer of seaborne Russian oil: report

India’s imports alone grew 658% against 2021 levels. 

Asia is importing more seaborne Russian oil, Urals, than Europe four months after Russia moved to invade Ukraine, Rystad Energy research reported. 

This was largely led by India which saw its imports of Urals rise 658%, compared to 2021 levels, followed by China after its imports rose 205%. Altogether, imports to Asia climbed 347%. 

“Historically, India has taken very little Russian oil but the war in Ukraine and Russian-origin oil embargoes by the Europe Union (EU) has led to a rebalancing in oil trade flows, with Russian-origin crude oil being diverted away from Europe towards India and China instead,” Wei Cheong Ho, vice president, downstream at Rystad Energy, explained. 

“Discounts of Russian-origin crude oil have to remain high to provide a compelling refining margin on top of offsetting the high insurance and freight costs associated with purchasing and shipping Russian-origin crude oil.”

Crude oil imports to Europe from Russia have declined by 554,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.49 million bpd between March and May; whereas the imports by Asian refiners, including China, increased by 503,000 bpd to an average of 1.517 million bpd in from March to May from the 1.14 million bpd average January to February 2022. 

He noted that keeping track of developments on Russian crude will be challenging as Europe will likely have to depend on importing petrol, and diesel amongst other products. 

READ MORE: How will the Russia-Ukraine conflict impact Asia’s net zero targets?


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