Fri. May 24th, 2024

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Russia was a minor oil exporter to India before the start of the Ukraine war

Two Gujarat firms have made bumper profits from Russian oil imports, selling them to the European Union at exorbitant rates, the Trinamool Congress has alleged. In a letter to foreign minister S Jaishankar, Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha MP Jawahar Sircar has sought clarification on this. In the letter, he has also flagged reports about an unknown company, Gatik Ship Management, which is single-handedly transporting half of the oil coming from Russia.

In his letter, Mr Sircar cited two news reports published in ‘ft.com’ and ‘The Wire’. FT has mentioned how a mysterious Mumbai-based company ‘Gatik Ship Management’ suddenly bought 54 oil tankers last year just to profit from Russian oil.

Referring to the report, he said out of 83 million barrels of “crude oil and oil products” imported at Indian ports, it has transported more than 50 per cent. Not much information, however, is available on Gatik Ship Management, not even on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website.

Mr Sircar has also mentioned the report of Finland’s thinktank CREA, which says despite many countries banning the purchase of Russian oil, oil from Russia is reaching in a roundabout way from five countries including India.

In its report, CREA has used the word “laundromat” for those five nations from which European countries are buying large quantities of oil. Apart from India, these include China, Turkey, UAE and Singapore.

Earlier, India’s dependence on the import of crude oil was on member countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC. But since the war between Russia and Ukraine, the situation has completely changed.

Russia was a minor oil exporter to India before the start of the Ukraine war. Before March 2022, India used to import only 1 per cent crude oil from Russia, whereas in a single year this figure has reached 34 per cent.

It is, however, not clear whether this includes re-exported crude. Currently, Russia is India’s number one oil supplier with oil exports of around 1.64 million barrels per day.

The Rajya Sabha MP has said in his letter that despite importing cheap oil in this way, the common man isn’t getting the benefit. Instead, two private refineries of Gujarat have earned huge profits by re-exporting the imported oil even as many western countries are criticising India for buying Russian oil in the middle of the war on Ukraine.

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