Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin is set to visit India next week. (Reuters)


Rosneft also has about 49% stake in Indian oil refinery and petrochemicals company Nayara Energy

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin is set to visit India next week. (Reuters)
Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin is set to visit India next week. (Reuters)

New Delhi: Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft’s CEO Igor Sechin is set to visit India next week, said two people in the know.

The scheduled visit by the Russian oligarch, a former deputy prime minister and facing western sanctions, comes in the backdrop of the country becoming India’s leading oil supplier over the past two years.

Igor is expected to meet prime minister Narendra Modi during the latter’s roundtable discussions with 17 global oil and gas CEOs during the India Energy Week between 6 and 9 February.

The visit also comes at a time when Russian exporters hold billions of dollars in vostro accounts, with Indian state-run energy firms having stakes in Rosneft’s Sakhalin-1, Taas-Yuryakh and Vankorneft projects. Rosneft also has an about 49% stake in Indian oil refinery and petrochemicals company Nayara Energy.

An account held by a local lender on behalf of a foreign bank is called a vostro account, and is set up to facilitate trade.

Major business engagements are also expected during the visit. During his last visit to India in early 2023, Rosneft signed a term agreement with state-run Indian Oil Corporation to substantially increase oil supplies and diversify oil grades delivered to India.

Among a large number of participants and delegates, energy ministers of 17 countries and CEOs of global oil and gas majors would also attend the four-day event in Goa.

Other global energy giants to be present at the event would include Saudi Aramco and Petronas. Aramco is among the sponsors for the event. Further, the entire board of Malaysia’s state-run Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and its President and CEO Muhammad Taufik would visit India during the event.

The presence of the global oil and gas companies and prime minister’s meeting with their chiefs come at a time when India is looking at increasing oil and gas exploration in the country in a bid to raise domestic hydrocarbon output and reduce its import dependence. About 85% of India’s energy requirement is met through imports.

Amid India’s diversification efforts, Russia has played a key role with its supplies diverted towards India and China after the West barred its energy supplies after the world’s largest country by area invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

The importance of the Indian market for Russian energy giants can also be guaged from the fact that last year, Rosneft appointed Govind Kottieth Satish, a former director of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd , on its board. He is the first Indian to be appointed to the board of the Russian oil company.

Before the Ukraine crisis, Russian oil constituted only 2% of India’s oil imports, with the top supplier being Iraq, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. After the war began, Russia has become the top supplier due to deep discounts it has offered.

According to latest data from the Union ministry of commerce and industry, a total of $3.61 billion worth of crude was imported from Russia in November, accounting for 30% of India’s total $11.86 billion oil imports during the month.


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Published: 02 Feb 2024, 11:43 PM IST
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