By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s oil imports from Russia fell due to unattractive pricing and not because of payment problems, oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday.
“There is no payment problem … It is a pure function of the price at which our refineries will buy,” Puri told a press conference.
India’s December Russian oil imports fell to an 11-month low as five ships loaded with light sweet Sokol grade headed to other locations after the U.S. imposed sanctions on some vessels and shippers for not complying with the G7-fixed $60 per barrel price caps for oil at Russian ports.
“India’s leadership has only one requirement that the Indian consumer gets the energy at the most economical price, without disruption,” he said, adding on an average India buys 1.5 million barrels per day of Russian oil.
He said oil companies have not yet complained to him about facing any problems in settling payments for oil imports.
“If they (Russia) don’t offer us (good) discount why would we buy from them,” Puri said in Hindi, adding that new oil producers in far flung regions are willing to offer better discounts than Russia on crude sales.
He refused to elaborate on new suppliers that are offering better prices.
India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer, has emerged as a top buyer of sea-borne Russian oil sold at a discount after Western entities retreated following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
He said the global markets have plenty of oil and there would be no supply constraints.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by David Evans)