MOSCOW: Russian energy giant Rosneft announced a deal on Wednesday to ramp up oil sales to India, as Moscow seeks new buyers in the wake of tensions with the West over the Ukraine conflict.
The Kremlin’s decision to deploy its military to Ukraine last February saw Russia’s share of the European market collapse as Kyiv’s allies levied sanctions on the Russian oil sector.
Rosneft said in a statement that its CEO Igor Sechin had travelled to India and brokered an agreement with the head of the Indian Oil Corporation.
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“Rosneft Oil Company and Indian Oil Company signed a term agreement to substantially increase oil supplies as well (as) diversify the grades to India,” Rosneft said in a statement.
Rosneft however did not specify the volumes stipulated in the agreement nor its value.
The announcement comes one day after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow’s oil sales to India had surged more than twentyfold last year.
Rosneft said that representatives of the two oil companies also discussed the “possibilities of making payments in national currencies,” pointing to Russia’s efforts to de-dollarise its economy.
Russia, a major producer and key ally of the OPEC oil cartel, cut crude production by 500,000 barrels per day this month in response to the Western sanctions.
Rosneft earlier this month posted a sharp drop in annual profit in the wake of Western sanctions against Russia.