India to import oil from any country not under sanctions

India to import oil from any country not under sanctions


India has decided to resume its crude oil imports from Venezuela. This move comes on the heels of the United States easing sanctions on Venezuela in October.

  • Indian refineries, including major players like Reliance Industries (RIL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), and HPCL-Mittal Energy (HMEL), are gearing up to process heavy crudes, making the prospect of Venezuelan oil imports feasible after a hiatus of three years.


GS-02 GS-03 (Effect of Policies of Countries on India’s Interests, Mobilization of Resources, Growth & Development)

Key Highlights:

  • Resumption of Venezuelan Oil Imports: With the easing of US sanctions on Caracas, India is set to restart importing crude oil from Venezuela after a suspension of three years.
  • Participating Refineries: RIL, IOC, and HMEL have reportedly booked Venezuelan oil cargoes, and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) is also considering resuming imports.
  • Capacity for Heavy Crudes: Indian refineries, particularly IOC’s Paradip refinery, are well-equipped to process heavy Venezuelan oil, making the collaboration a strategic fit.
  • India’s Open Stance: Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri emphasizes India’s willingness to procure oil from any country not under sanctions, underscoring India’s role as a major international consumer of crude oil.
  • Historical Import Relationship: India, notably RIL and Nayara Energy, was a regular buyer of Venezuelan crude before the 2019 US sanctions. The interruption led to a cessation of oil imports from Venezuela.


  • Diversification of Oil Sources: Resuming imports from Venezuela adds a new dimension to India’s oil sourcing, promoting diversification and reducing dependency on specific regions.
  • Utilizing Refinery Capacities: Indian refineries, designed to process heavy crudes, can optimize their capacities by incorporating Venezuelan oil, potentially improving operational efficiency.
  • Global Oil Market Negotiation: India’s openness to importing oil from various sources strengthens its position in global oil market negotiations, providing flexibility and strategic advantage.


  • Geopolitical Sensitivity: The decision to engage with Venezuela may trigger geopolitical sensitivities, considering the global context and historical events related to Venezuela.
  • Market Volatility: The oil market is prone to volatility, and dependencies on multiple sources may expose India to fluctuations in global oil prices, impacting economic stability.
  • Sanction Risks: Despite current ease in US sanctions, the geopolitical landscape is dynamic, and potential re-imposition of sanctions on Venezuela could disrupt the oil trade and impact India’s energy security.

Understanding OPEC+:


  • OPEC+ represents a coalition of 23 nations extensively engaged in exporting oil. This collective convenes regularly to determine the volume of crude oil to be offered in the global market.

Origins and Core Constituents:

  • At its nucleus are the 13 members constituting OPEC, primarily comprising nations from the Middle East and Africa.
  • Established in 1960, OPEC initially functioned as a cartel, seeking to regulate the global oil supply and its pricing dynamics.

Evolution and Expansion in 2016:

  • In response to dwindling oil prices in 2016, OPEC collaboratively integrated with 10 additional oil-producing nations, giving rise to OPEC+.
  • Russia, a pivotal member and the world’s third-largest oil producer, contributes significantly, producing over 10 million barrels daily.

Crucial Production Share:

  • The combined oil output of OPEC+ nations encompasses a substantial 40% of the world’s total crude oil production.

Individual Contributions:

  • OPEC nations singularly contribute 30% to the global crude oil production landscape.
  • Saudi Arabia, the leading oil supplier within the coalition, boasts a daily production exceeding 10 million barrels.

Market Balancing Mechanism:

  • OPEC+ intricately manages supply and demand dynamics to stabilize the oil market.
  • To bolster prices during reduced oil demand, the coalition curtails supplies, while an influx of oil into the market serves to lower prices.

India’s Oil Dependency and OPEC:

Overview of India’s Oil Landscape:

  • India, positioned as the third-largest consumer of oil globally, is heavily reliant on imports, with over 80% of its crude oil requirements sourced from external markets.
  • This significant dependence underscores the critical role that international oil partnerships play in India’s energy security.

OPEC’s Dominance in Indian Imports:

  • A substantial portion of India’s oil imports, approximately 70%, is attributed to members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
  • This formidable consortium, comprising mainly Middle Eastern and African nations, remains a primary source of crude oil for India’s burgeoning energy needs.


India’s renewed collaboration with Venezuela in the oil sector unfolds as a strategic move with both advantages and potential pitfalls. While diversification enhances resilience and negotiation power, it’s essential to navigate cautiously considering geopolitical intricacies and market dynamics. The decision highlights India’s proactive stance in securing its energy needs while necessitating a delicate balance in the complex web of global oil geopolitics.