BPCL buys 2 million barrels of Russian oil for May loading

Bharat Petroleum
A man paints the logo of oil refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) on a wall on the outskirts of Kochi. File Photo: Reuters/Sivaram V

New Delhi: Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd has bought 2 million barrels of Russian Urals for May loading from trader Trafigura, two sources familiar with the purchase said.

Refiners in India, the world's third biggest oil importer and consumer, have been snapping up Russian oil through spot deals since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, taking advantage of deep discounts as other buyers back away.

BPCL and Trafigura did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The state-run refiner regularly buys Russian Urals for its 310,000 barrels per day (bpd) Kochi refinery in Kerala.

With BPCL's purchase, India has so far booked at least 16 million barrels of Russian oil since February 24, similar to imports in all of 2021, according to Reuters calculations.

The Urals discount to dated Brent has hit a record for the post-Soviet era as some buyers shunned Russian oil. Unlike several Western countries, India has not banned Russian oil imports.

India's foreign minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday the government was working to stabilise economic transactions with Russia, a day after India condemned killings of civilians in Ukraine and called for an independent probe.

Jaishankar told lawmakers in Parliament that Russia continued to be a critical economic partner and efforts were underway to "stabilise economic transactions between India and Russia."

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week said India would buy Russian oil if available at a discount.

"India's overall interest is what is kept in mind ... I would put my country's national interest first, and I would keep my country's energy security first," she said.

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