Home Business Reliance makes rare purchase of Russian crude, boosts fuel imports

Reliance makes rare purchase of Russian crude, boosts fuel imports

Russian Naphtha is being sold at a low premium to countries like India. (file)

New Delhi:

India’s Reliance Industries, the operator of the world’s biggest refining complex, is snatching up Russian refined fuel, including rare purchases of naphtha, after some Western buyers halted Russian imports, trade flow data from Refinitiv showed.

Western sanctions against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to the emergence of scarce trade routes for Russian crude and refined products that were sold primarily to European countries.

Refinitiv data shows India imported about 410,000 tonnes of naphtha, which is used to make petrochemicals, in September-October.

Of this figure, Reliance received about 150,000 tonnes from the Russian ports of Ust-Luga, Tuapse and Novorossiysk during the two months, the data showed.

Private refiners did not buy Russian naphtha in 2020 and 2021. Its annual imports of Russian naphtha were limited to just one parcel in the four years to 2019, the data showed.

The data showed a Panamax carrier Okayro headed towards India laden with about 59,000 tonnes of Russian naphtha.

“European countries have closed Russia, they need to find outlets for their naphtha,” said a trader based in India, referring to Russian firms.

Two Asian naphtha traders said Russian naphtha is being sold at a low premium to countries like India.

increase in fuel oil imports

Reliance, with its two plants together capable of processing 1.4 million barrels of oil a day, has emerged as a major buyer of Russian oil since Moscow’s February military crackdown in Ukraine.

It also buys runoff fuel oil directly from countries including Iraq and Russia to be processed into cokers at two refineries in the western Indian state of Gujarat to boost refining margins.

Reliance’s fuel oil imports from Russia have risen to a record 3 million tonnes since the start of this financial year in April, compared to about 1.6 million for all of 2021/22, Refinitiv data show.

The data showed that Reliance expected to receive around 409,000 tonnes of fuel oil in December.

Reliance did not respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment.

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