Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

India’s export of Russian oil to West


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Vacuum gas oil (VGO)

Mains level: Reprocessing Russian oil


Central Idea

  • The article discusses India’s increased imports of Russian oil and the potential circumvention of sanctions imposed on Russian oil products.

Why in news?

  • An EU parliamentarian accused India of profiting from cheaply bought Russian oil and indirectly supporting the Russian economy.
  • India justified its purchase by emphasizing its energy demands and the challenges of higher prices due to its reliance on energy imports and significant poverty levels.

Reasons: Sanctions against Russian Oil

  • After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western countries and Europe aimed to reduce their dependency on Russian energy imports to weaken the Russian economy.
  • Measures were taken, such as Germany suspending the launch of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline and Canada and the US banning the import of Russian crude oil.
  • Stricter sanctions were imposed on Russia, including a “price cap” from trading Russian oil above $60 per barrel.
  • The price cap aimed to cripple Moscow’s economy and limit its ability to fund the war in Ukraine.
  • However, Russia increased its oil exports to India and China as a response.

India’s role in meeting West’s energy demand

  • India, exempt from the sanctions on Russian oil, has seen a significant increase in fuel imports from Russia, which is then refined and supplied to Europe and the US.
  • The refined oil from Russian crude, once processed in India, is not considered of Russian origin.
  • India’s oil imports have helped it meet its own energy demands and also assist Western nations facing energy crises due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • India has become a net exporter of refined petroleum products, supplying the West to alleviate current energy shortages.

Impact of Indian imports on Western markets

  • Indian refiners have ramped up exports of refined petroleum products, including diesel and vacuum gas oil (VGO), to Europe and the US.
  • VGO is a feedstock in the refining process that can be further processed to produce gasoline, diesel, and other fuel products.
  • Diesel exports to Europe from India have increased by 12-16% in the last fiscal year.
  • The US has become a major recipient of Indian VGO shipments, receiving 11,000-12,000 barrels per day (bpd) or 65-81% of India’s VGO exports.
  • These exports from India have helped ease the energy tightness and supply constraints in Western markets.


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