India can buy as much Russian oil as it wants, Yellen says. The caveat: it can't use Western insurance, financ – Business Insider India

India can buy as much oil from Russia as it likes — even at prices above a G7 imposed price cap — but stringent conditions apply, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Reuters Friday.
Indian oil companies can purchase oil at any price they want, as long as they don’t use Western services like insurance, finance, and maritime services which are bound by the price cap, Yellen said, per Reuters.
Concerns have been mounting over increasing Russian crude oil exports to India, despite sweeping sanctions against Moscow to curb funding for its war in Ukraine. In October, Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia and Iraq to become India’s top oil supplier.
Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said last week his country will continue buying discounted Russian oil as the relationship has worked to India’s benefit. An anonymous Indian official also told Reuters the country will not follow the G7 price cap mechanism.
Despite India’s proclivities towards Russian oil, Yellen appeared to be confident that Indian wouldn’t find many substitutes for Western insurance, finance and maritime services.
“Russia is going to find it very difficult to continue shipping as much oil as they have done when the EU stops buying Russian oil,” Yellen told Reuters, referring to a ban on most Russian crude imports by the European Union from December 5. “They’re going to be heavily in search of buyers. And many buyers are reliant on Western services.”
Russian energy giant Rosneft is already working on a solution as the company is expanding its oil tanker chartering business, Reuters reported in October, citing three sources familiar with the matter. There are also smaller insurance companies, including Chinese ones, that would be willing to support the sale of Russian oil even at prices above the price cap, S&P Global reported earlier in November.
But Yellen told Reuters that even with such additional capacity — which includes using a secretive network of ships — Russia will still “find it very difficult to sell all the oil that they have been selling without a reasonable price.”
The G7 is still working on details of the price cap for Russian oil, which will come into force on December 5, US State Department ambassador James O’Brien told reporters in Brussels on November 4.
The G7 is counting on the price cap to slash the amount of oil revenue Russia will be earning, even if demand for the fuel persists. Russian oil “is going to be selling at bargain prices and we’re happy to have India get that bargain or Africa or China. It’s fine,” Yellen said.
The world has been struggling to replace Russian energy supply since the US, the EU, and their allies started imposing hard hitting sanctions against Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.
Germany, in particular, faces an imminent energy crisis as it was reliant on Russian natural gas, but its storage capacities are currently full, ahead of winter, the German energy regulator said on Tuesday.
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