New Delhi: India’s heftiest payments for crude oil import in 2022-23 was not billed to Russia, but Iraq, Lok Sabha was told on Friday. In a written response to a question raised in the Lower House of Parliament, Minister of State (MoS) in the Ministry Of External Affairs Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh shared figures which showed that India imported crude oil worth US$ 33,599.57 million in 2022-23 from Iraq followed by Russia at US$ 31,024.66 million. However, even though the oil import bills were bigger for Iraq, India imported more oil from Russia in 2022-23 as it accounted for around 40 percent of India’s total oil purchases during the year, a source said.
In a bid to diversify the sources from where crude oil is purchased, India imported oil from 10 countries in 2022-23, including Iraq and Russia. The third-biggest forex outgo for crude oil import went to Saudi Arabia at US$ 29,077.41 million, followed by UAE at US$ 16,840.67 million, USA at US$ 10,181.72 million, Kuwait at US$ 8,024.61 million, Nigeria at US$ 6,059.58 million, Angola at US$ 3,175.05 million, Mexico at US$ 2,844.70 million and Oman at US$ 2,657.57 million.
According to sources, as discounts on Russian crude has dried up in the last few months, India is now planning to increase its oil purchase from Iraq. India is conversing with Iraq to secure better payment terms in return for increased purchases, said one of the sources quoted above. Before the war in Ukraine, Iraq had been the largest oil supplier to India.