Home / Industry / Energy /  Netherlands turns top buyer of Indian petro-products amid Ukraine war

The Netherlands has emerged as the top destination for India’s petroleum product exports such as petrol and diesel in the first half of the current fiscal year. This bump in exports has also resulted in the Netherlands becoming the third biggest market for India’s overall exports, thereby replacing China.

This change comes in the wake of the Ukraine war, with India continuing to buy discounted crude oil from sanctions-hit Russia. India is a key Asian refining hub, with an installed capacity of nearly 250 million tonnes per annum across 23 refineries.

South Africa and Brazil also ramped up refined petroleum product purchases including those of ATF from India in H1, making it to the top 10 petroleum product export markets for Indian refiners.

“Oil companies keep changing their storage facility. At times they store in the Netherlands, at times in Singapore or Venezuela. So (refined) oil moving to the Netherlands could be for the purpose of redistribution to other European countries in the winter. Another point is that a lot of countries do not wish to import fuel from Russia directly and India is getting oil from Russia at competitive prices and we also have a refining facility. And Indian private companies are involved," Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) director general Ajay Sahai said.

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The Netherlands accounted for nearly 9% of India’s total petroleum product exports in the April to September period at 4.5 trillion, a growth of 180% over the corresponding period last year.

“The amount of (refined) oil that the Netherlands has started importing is quite substantial. Moreover, if you look at the European energy imports from Russia …it has not come down," Biswajit Dhar, professor at Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, JNU said.

Brazil also made it to the top eight export market for India compared to the 19th spot it occupied last year, led by a 273% growth in petroleum product exports at $2.3 trillion in the April-September period.

South Africa rose to become India’s 13th largest export market during the period from being the 22nd largest last year, largely on account of a 324% growth in petroleum exports to $2.6 trillion.

South Africa accounted for 5.13% of total petroleum shipments in the first half of the fiscal, as against 2.23% share in the corresponding period last year. Russia emerged as India’s fifth largest import source in the first half to $21.3 trillion, accounting for 5.62% of India’s total imports with a year-on-year growth of 409% over the first half of 2021-22. To be sure, Russian oil accounted for 15% of India’s total petroleum imports at $14 trillion in the first half of the fiscal.

Queries sent to the commerce and petroleum ministries remained unanswered.

China was displaced to the fourth position, accounting for just 3.3% of India’s total overall outbound shipments.



Dilasha Seth

" Dilasha Seth is a journalist reporting on macroeconomic policy for the last 11 years. She writes extensively on issues including international trade, macroeconomic data, fiscal policy, and taxation. At Mint, she reports on trade deals that India is signing besides key policy decisions of the Ministry of Finance. She closely tracked and covered the transition to the goods and services tax (GST) regime in 2017 and also writes on direct tax-related issues. In the past, she has worked with Business Standard and The Economic Times. She is based in Bangalore."
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