Russian Oil Is Still Making Its Way to Countries Sanctioning Moscow

  • Russian oil is likely making its way to the US and other countries that have sanctioned Moscow, according to Petro-Logistics. 
  • Indian imports of Russian crude have skyrocketed since the invasion of Ukraine. 
  • Meanwhile, India’s exports of oil products have increased, and some of them likely originated in Russia.

Russian oil is still making its way to the US and other countries that have imposed some form of sanctions on Moscow by way of India, according to a report from Petro-Logistics

Indian imports of Russian crude skyrocketed this year as its refiners took advantage of discounted barrels that were shunned by the West after Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine.

In fact, India imported 583,000 barrels per day of Russian crude from April to June on average, compared to  36,000 bpd in 2021, Petro-Logistics said. Meanwhile, India’s exports of oil products have increased.

While it remains difficult to prove with certainty that the crude being imported by the US and others definitely contains Russian oil, the report posits that the data can give a strong picture of where it ended up.

“We have taken the ratio of Russian crude imports versus the runs of the specific refiners who imported the crude and applied those percentages to their product exports since the war. This yields an estimate of 308 kb/d of Indian product exports possibly attributable Russian crude oil inputs,” Petro-Logistics said. 

Of that amount, 113,000 barrels per day, or 37%, went to countries with some form of sanctions on Russia, including those that are not related to energy, it estimated.  

The US has completely banned Russian oil, while others have enacted sanctions without directly banning Moscow’s oil. Of the countries with sanctions, South Korea imported 31,000 bpd, Singapore 23,000 bpd, and the US 15,000 bpd. Australia and several European countries were also among the top importers of Russian oil products.

The US mostly imported gasoline as it often brings in summer-grade Indian blends for peak driving season, according to Petro-Logistics.

“It is very difficult in practical terms to identify if precise oil molecules from Russia are landing in sanctioning countries. However, because of the fungible nature of oil, the data can at least show where Indian refiners who have Russian crude in their feedstock mix are sending their products,” the report said.

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