Russian media reports citing official Eurostat statistics report that India has become the European Union’s second-largest supplier of refined petroleum products in 2023, second only to Saudi Arabia.
The EU imported 7.9 million tons of refined petroleum products from India between January and September this year, according to RIA Novosti calculations, a figure that is more than double year-on-year, and a triple the volumes from 2021. According to the report, this year’s refined petroleum products volume catapulted India from sixth place in 2022 to first place in 2023, with France, the Netherlands and Italy the three largest importers, followed by Croatia, Latvia, Romania and Germany. India, Asia’s second-largest oil refiner after China, imports some 40% of the crude it refines from Russia, with volumes having increased exponentially due to a discount on Russia crude as a result of Western sanctions. Russian crude continues to make its way into European markets in other ways, as well. According to data from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Bulgaria’s Black Sea Neftochim Burgas refinery imported over 4.95 million tons of Russian crude in the first 10 months of this year.
Bulgaria was granted an exemption from the EU’s Russian oil embargo implemented in late 2022 in order to ensure sufficient domestic supply. However, Russian oil is being refined and sold into other European markets.
According to CREA, Bulgaria is the fourth-largest importer of Russian seaborne crude, after India, China and Turkey.
According to Eurostat, natural gas, petroleum oil, nickel, iran, steel and fertilizers account for two-thirds of “extra-EU” imports (transactions with all countries outside the EU) from Russia. Further, the official statistics agency notes that between Q3 2021 and Q3 2023, Russia’s share in “extra-EU” imports of natural gas decreased by 27%.
Extra-EU imports of petroleum oil saw a 25% decrease in Russian share.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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