By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India paid an average of $85.42 per barrel for Russian oil in November, the highest since the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies imposed a price cap of $60 per barrel to cut Moscow’s revenue, preliminary government data shows.
India paid 1.4% more for Russian oil in November compared to $84.20 per barrel in October, Reuters calculations based on government data show.
The data also showed declining discounts for Russian oil narrowed the price gap with India’s second largest oil supplier Iraq in November.
India paid an average $85.73 per barrel for supplies from Iraq and $93.32/barrel for Saudi oil, the data showed.
Since the imposition of the price cap in December 2022, India has mostly paid above the $60 ceiling for Russian oil that had still proved cheaper than the similar grades from elsewhere. June was an exception when prices were lower.
Indian refiners buy Russian oil on delivered basis from from ports in Greece, South Korea and Spain, as well as directly from Russia.
Sales from Russian ports at more than $60/barrel led to the U.S. placing sanctions on some ships and vessel operators.
Washington also tightened rules including toughened scrutiny by banks and service providers to ensure that cargoes do not breach the $60 per barrel price cap.
Subsequently, some ships carrying Russian oil for India were diverted in November and December, denting India’s intake of Russian oil in December.
Sources had said ships with Russian oil were diverted due to payment problems.
However, India’s oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said that the decline in India’s import of Russian oil was because of unattractive prices and not because of payment issues.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma; editing by Barbara Lewis)