US 'happy' with India buying Russian oil, even above price cap: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

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New Delhi: The United States doesn’t have any problem with India buying as much Russian oil as it wants, even above the price cap proposed by the western countries earlier this year, the US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Friday.

The US Treasury Secretary, speaking on the side-lines of a conference for deepening the economic ties between India and the United States, said that as long India didn’t avail the services; insurance, finance, and maritime service, provided by the western allies to tanker cargoes priced below a fixed dollar per barrel cap, it could buy as much oil as it wanted from Russia.

The price cap, mooted in May, is intended to drive down Russian oil revenue while keeping the oil on the world market. The final deadline for the cap is 5 December and the details on it still coming together.

“Russia is going to find it very difficult to continue shipping as much oil as they have done when the EU stops buying Russian oil,” Yellen said, adding that Russia would be in search of buyers, most of whom depend on western services.

“Russian oil is going to be selling at bargain prices and we’re happy to have India get that bargain or Africa or China. It’s fine,” Yellen added

In October, Russia became the biggest oil supplier in India, jumping from 0.2 per cent in March to 22 per cent in October in crude oil imports.

For Russia, India is now the second biggest buyer just after China.

The US officials’ comments come just weeks after India’s Oil Minister said that India would keep buying Oil from Russia as long as it finds it economically convenient.

Ever since the start of the war in Ukraine, India has come under increased pressure from Western countries, especially the US, for its rising purchase of Russian oil despite US sanctions.

However, India has maintained that it would buy fuel where it finds it cheaper, and it was open to discussions with the western countries if they had a better alternative.

“In FY22 (April 2021 to March 2022), the purchases of Russian oil was 0.2 per cent (of all oil imported by India). We still buy only a quarter of what Europe buys in one afternoon,” Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told CNN in a recent interview.

“We owe a moral duty to our consumers. We have a 1.34 billion population and we have to ensure that they are supplied with energy…whether it’s petrol, diesel”, Puri said.

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US 'happy' with India buying Russian oil, even above price cap: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
US 'happy' with India buying Russian oil, even above price cap: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
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