Ukraine war: Burdened by western sanctions, Russia seeks Indian investment in oil and gas sector

Amid increasing sanctions from the US and other countries in the west over its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has approached India seeking to increase New Delhi’s investments in the Russian oil sector.

Alexander Novak, the deputy prime minister of Russia, spoke to India’s petroleum minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday to push for deepening strategic ties in the energy sector.

“Russia’s oil and petroleum product exports to India have approached $1bn, and there are clear opportunities to increase this figure,” Mr Novak said, according to a statement from the Russian government.

“We are interested in further attracting Indian investment to the Russian oil and gas sector and expanding Russian companies’ sales networks in India.”

Earlier this week, Joe Biden announced that the US will ban imports of Russian petroleum products into American markets in hopes of choking off funds for Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The British government has also said that it will phase out imports by the end of the year.

The move has sent global oil prices soaring with prices remaining above $100 (£76.70) per barrel. On Friday, Brent crude futures rose $3.34, or 3.1%, settling at $112.67 a barrel, after hitting a session low of $107.13, reported Reuters.

This infographic by Statista shows the countries which import the most Russian oil

(Statista/The Independent)

Russia, the second largest exporter of crude, is also facing increasing sanctions from the European Union and other countries in the west.

The Russian economy is reportedly facing its deepest crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Last week, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky also pushed US and European leaders to ban Russian fossil fuel imports.

The phone conversation between India and Russia appears to confirm reports that suggested New Delhi has received an offer of discounted crude oil from Russia, reported TheHindu.

India, meanwhile, has maintained a neutral position with regard to the Russian invasion.

Unwilling to take a side against its longtime arms supplier, India has also abstained from voting in the United Nations on a resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

In his conversation with the Indian minister on Friday, Mr Novak added that Russia expects both countries to continue cooperation on civilian nuclear power, including building new units at a nuclear power plant in the south Indian town of Kudankulam.

The statement added that the two countries also discussed the possibility of increasing “mutually beneficial cooperation” mentioning the possibility of Russian involvement in projects in India including “the production, processing, and distribution of oil, natural gas, and coking coal”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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