Russia offers oil to India at $35 per barrel discount from pre-war pricetext_fields
As mounting international pressure lowers the appetite for its barrels following the invasion of Ukraine, Russia is offering India steep discounts on the direct sale of oil.
As per reports, the sanctions-hit nation is offering its flagship Urals grade to India at discounts of as much as $35 a barrel on prices before the war to lure India to lift more shipments, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The discount offer comes at a time when global crude oil prices are hovering at elevated levels and economies globally not being in good shape hit by supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic and later Russia's invasion in Ukraine.
Headline Brent prices have risen about $10 since then, implying an even larger reduction from current prices.
Russia wants India to take 15 million barrels contracted for this year just to begin with, they said, adding the talks are taking place at government level.
Asia's No. 2 oil importer is among a handful of nations that have been doubling down on Russian crude, defying international pressure and sanctions. Russian barrels have been flowing to Asia in greater volumes as buyers across Europe and the US shun the supply following the invasion of Ukraine. India and China have been the key buyers.
Russia has also offered rupee-ruble-denominated payments using Russia's messaging system SPFS, that could make trading more attractive for India, they said. No final decision has been taken and the matter will probably be discussed when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives in India for a two-day visit Thursday.
The direct purchase is expected to involve Russia's Rosneft PJSC and the Asian nation's biggest processor Indian Oil Corp., which have an optional term contract -- that's rarely used -- for close to 15 million barrels a year.
That contract has a built-in clause that Indian Oil will buy only when it's economical, the people said, adding a discount offered by Russia could make the oil trade viable even at a higher freight.
Representatives for Indian Oil didn't immediately reply to calls seeking comment and India's Oil Ministry declined to comment.
India is also seeking to push for greater exports of medicines, engineering goods and chemicals to Russia to narrow its trade gap created by oil and arms purchases.
India has maintained a softer stance against Russia's actions, while the U.S. and its allies have tried to isolate and punish Moscow over the invasion of its neighbor. India has not condemned Moscow's attack in outright terms, even under international pressure.