Russian oil cargoes head away from India amid payment issues – Times of India

A number of vessels hauling crude from Russia that had been idling off India are now headed away from the country eastwards, amid concerns over oil payments to Moscow that spurred a slump in arrivals last month.
Five ships all carrying Sokol oil from Russia’s Far East — the NS Commander, Sakhalin Island, Krymsk, Nellis, and Liteyny Prospect — are moving toward the Malacca Strait at 7 to 10 knots, according to vessel-tracking data. A sixth also holding Sokol — the NS Century — is still close to Sri Lanka.
“China seems to have stepped in to save the idling Sokol cargoes,” said Viktor Katona, lead crude analyst at data intelligence provider Kpler.
India’s oil imports from Russia — a vital outlet for Moscow amid the war in Ukraine — fell in December to their lowest since January 2023, with local refiners not receiving a single Sokol cargo due to payment issues, according to Kpler.
The US and its allies have imposed sanctions on entities deemed to have breached the $60-a-barrel cap on Russian crude exports, which came into effect late in 2022. Last month, a senior Treasury official said enforcement would be ramped up.
The NS Century — which hauls about 700,000 barrels — was sanctioned by the US Treasury last year. Four of the other vessels carry similar volumes, while the fifth, the Nellis, can hold twice as much. Most of the ships are owned by Russia’s state-backed shipping company, Sovcomflot PJSC.

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