India is not considering buying oil from Russia or any other country using Indian rupees, the junior oil minister told parliament on Monday, after Western nations imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
With Western sanctions hitting Russia’s dollar-based trading, there is focus on Moscow’s efforts to switch to other currencies, including the possible use of the yuan and rupee in deals with China and India.
“At present, oil public sector undertakings neither have any contract nor is any such proposal under consideration from Russia or any other country for purchase of crude oil in Indian rupees,” junior oil minister Rameswar Teli said.
Indian companies are snapping up Russian oil through spot tenders taking advantage of deep discounts while other buyers shun purchases over Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
India, which has refrained from outright condemnation of Moscow, has not banned the importation of Russian oil.
Refiners in India rarely bought Russian oil in the past due to high freight costs.
Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri this month however said India was in talks with Russian authorities to buy oil and was evaluating issues related to insurance, freight and payment.
India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer, is exploring paying for Russian imports in rupees but a formal mechanism has not yet formulated, government and banking sources said.
An Indian government source last week said New Delhi welcomes competing offers for oil sales including from Moscow, especially as global prices have jumped.