India imports less than 1% oil from Russia: Puri 

Facts on reports of western oil companies pulling out of Russia vary on the ground, he says

March 21, 2022 06:43 pm | Updated 06:43 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri speaks in the Rajya Sabha

Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri speaks in the Rajya Sabha | Photo Credit: PTI

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the Rajya Sabha that facts regarding the stand taken by western oil companies on pulling investments out of Russia varied on the ground. Less than 1% crude oil was imported from Russia, he noted.

“When we are in discussion with these companies, the facts on the ground vary. Some have indicated an intent and others said they will not make fresh investment. We are monitoring the situation. Insofar as oil imports from Russia are concerned, contrary to what has been played up in the press, these are miniscule. Even now, the total amount contracted will be less than three days’ supply from Russia to India and that also spread over the next three to four months,” he stated.

Mr. Puri was responding to Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi, who asked whether the new energy cooperation agreements, including a contract for Rosneft signed in December 2021, may be impacted by the ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis and whether the exit of British Petroleum from Rosneft impacted the Indian Oil Corporation’s investment.

‘Profitable investments’

Mr. Puri observed that Indian oil companies have invested $16 billion in Russia and some of those investments were very profitable. “For example, Sakhalin-1 where OVL [ONGC Videsh Limited] has a 20% take, the investment of $337 million has led to an overall revenue $3.7 billion and we still have 20 years of assets left. The one facility where one of the western entities is the operator, one of our oil companies has a 20% share. We got worried when we read those reports because if the operator is exiting, then the facility’s production will be undermined. But we were told that no production facilities will continue. So, we will discuss on a case-by-case basis with everyone. We have typical arrangements, which are government to government and company to company,” he said.

In the first nine months of the year, India imported only 0.2 % of the requirement from Russia, he remarked.

The Minister’s written reply stated that in 2020-21, India imported 85% of its crude oil requirements and 54% of its natural gas requirement. “As per Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC), India’s major sources of crude oil imports are Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria and the U.S. Indian Oil and gas Public Sector Undertakings had imported approximately less than 1% of its total crude oil import from Russia in the year 2021-2022 [till January],” it pointed out.

When asked by Congress member Neeraj Dangi if the trade with Russia would impact relations with the U.S., Mr. Puri said, “India imported 14 million metric tonnes of crude from the U.S. and this represented 7.3 % of our requirements as against the less than 1 % from the Russian Federation… likely to go up from 14 million metric tonnes to 16.8 million metric tonnes or a value of about $10 billion of imports of crude oil from the U.S. If I add to that the amount of gas that we are importing, and coal, I think the figure comes closer to $13.5 billion of imports from the U.S. So, it is a robust relationship on the energy front, and I see this continuing for some time.”

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