Why in news? India leads five countries named as the “Laundromat” countries(India, China, Turkey, the UAE and Singapore) that buy Russian oil and sell processed products to European countries, thus side-stepping European sanctions against Russia.
- The report, released last week, coincides with the latest data from analytics firm Kpler and a report by international agency Bloomberg that showed how European Union (EU) countries, which are all part of the “price cap coalition” that bars trade and insurance for any oil purchased above a certain price from Russia, are in fact increasing their intake of oil from India, China, Turkey, the UAE and Singapore.
- The report accused Indian sellers and European buyers of possibly “circumventing sanctions” by selling crude products from a refinery in Gujarat that is co-owned by Russian oil company Rosneft.
- “Price cap coalition countries have increased imports of refined oil products from countries that have become the largest importers of Russian crude.
- European countries are simply substituting oil products they previously bought directly from Russia, with the same products now “whitewashed” in third countries and bought from them at a premium.
Exports from India:
- Of the so-called “laundromat” countries, India, which in April remained the highest global consumer of seaborne Russian crude for a fifth month, is ahead of all others in the export of crude products to the coalition countries, exporting nearly 3.8 million tonnes of oil products to price cap coalition countries, which include the EU, G-7 countries, Australia and Japan.
- India’s exports of diesel, for example, tripled to about 1,60,000 barrels per day in March 2023, compared with the period before the Russian war in Ukraine, making diesel one of the largest components of India-EU trade at present.
- the most oil products were being exported from two ports in Gujarat: the Sikka port that services the Reliance-owned Jamnagar refinery, and the Vadinar port that ships oil products from Nayara energies, which is partly owned (49.13%) by Rosneft, alleging that this could constitute “circumventing sanctions” imposed unilaterally by the U.S. and Europe.