Not Saudi Arabia, US or China; Here How India becomes Europe’s biggest supplier of refined fuel

New Delhi: Many Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia are considered a major source of not only crude petroleum products but also refined fuel. The United States or China are second only to countries in the Middle East in producing refined fuel for consumption by most of the world’s population.

A recently released report by analytics firm Kepler revealed that India was the largest supplier of refined fuel to Europe in April. Apart from exports, India also reportedly bought Russian crude in record quantities.

Europe trusts India

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Moscow’s embargo on the oil economy, Europe has been largely dependent on crude oil products from India.

An ANI report said that the Kepler report also suggests that Europe’s dependence on Indian imports is likely to increase to just over 360,000 barrels per day, which is slightly higher than that of Saudi Arabia.

However, this latest development is likely to cost Europe more as it has stopped direct supplies from Russia. This also leads to higher demand for Russian crude and higher freight charges to Europe.

In addition, it will present more challenges for local refiners in Europe who are unable to obtain cheap oil supplies from Russia.

Advantage India

As there is little chance of a long-term ceasefire in the Ukraine–Russia war, sanctions on the Russian oil industry are likely to continue. However, Russia is expected to continue exporting crude oil directly or indirectly to India and other countries.

Russia’s crude oil exports to India are expected to cross 2 million barrels per day in April itself. This accounts for about 44 per cent of the total Indian crude oil imports from Russia.

India rejected western pressure

In 2022-23, Russia has emerged as a major crude oil exporter to India. This happened when Russia started supplying oil to India at concessional rates. Despite pressure from the US and the West, India has refused to heed their warnings, not for Russian oil.

Russia emerged as New Delhi’s largest exporter of crude by value in February despite a western price cap of US$60 a barrel, according to data from the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.