Russian crude oil exports to India could increase when Iran sanctions waiver expires

S&P Global Platts – Russian crude oil exports to India are set to increase in the near future, and could become more attractive when the US waiver for purchasing Iranian crude expires, Vice Chairman of Essar Group Ravi Ruia said Wednesday.

Ruia’s Essar Group reached a deal in 2017 to sell 98.26% of Essar Oil to a consortium including Rosneft, Trafigura and United Capital Partners. Now named Nayara, it includes the major Vadinar refinery, with installed capacity of 20 million mt/year and a complexity index of 11.8. The deal also envisaged crude supplies from Rosneft to Vadinar of up to 100 million mt for 10 years.

Ruia said these deliveries are “not much” at the moment, but Rosneft is studying logistics options to increase the deliveries.

He added that if Indian purchases of Iranian oil are restricted then there could be more opportunities for Russian oil exporters to India.

So far India has been able to continue purchasing Iranian volumes due to a temporary waiver. The US State Department announced November 14 a 45-day waiver on buying Iranian crude for several countries.

“Nothing yet has been impacted. Let us see how that will go, but at the moment there is an exemption,” Ruia said.

When asked how expiration of the waiver would affect Indian imports of Russian oil, he said: “There will be more opportunities for Russian oil imports then.”

Nayara imports around 340,000-360,000 b/d of crude, of which around a third comes from Iran.

In October, before the sanctions waiver was approved, Nayara CEO B. Anand told S&P Global Platts the company would be seeking additional purchases of crude from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Brazil as well as Russia’s Urals blend in the event that supply from Iran dries up.