Will India buy Russian crude oil in Indian Rupee? Petroleum ministry answers

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The Ministry of Petroleum in Rajya Sabha today issued a clarification on the issue of the purchase of Russian crude oil at rupee value. “At present, there is no contract or proposal under consideration of oil undertakings in the public sector with Russia or any other country to buy crude oil in Indian Rupees,” the petroleum and natural gas ministry MoS Rameshvar Teli said in a written reply.

He replied to the query by Biju Janata Dal MP Sujeet Kumar that sought clarification on if India, instead of the US dollar, will buy crude oil from any nation in rupee. It also asked how much of the total petroleum products trade between India-Russia happens in rupee. It also asked if India was thinking about buying crude oil in rupee.

The development is significant as speculations are rife that India and Russia may trade in local currencies to dodge sanctions imposed by the West.

Amid the Russia-Ukraine war, India’s biggest oil marketing company Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) bought 3 million barrels of Russian crude oil since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, suggest media reports. 

The petroleum ministry’s statement comes a day after steel minister Ramchandra Prasad Singh in a conference said that India is leaning toward continuing to import coking coal from Russia, defying a global trend where major western countries are criticising the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine by imposing sanctions and even pulling out investments.

He said India is moving in the direction of importing coking coal from Russia, Reuters reported. He said the country aims to double imports of Russian coking coal, which is considered a key ingredient in making steel.

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