An India oil firm that’s become the top shipper of Russian crude is likely tied to Rosneft, the FT reported.
The company has grown its fleet of vessels from two ships to 58 ships over the past year.
That comes amid India’s growing appetite for deeply discounted Russian crude.
There is a mysterious Indian oil shipping firm that’s likely tied to the Russian energy giant Rosneft – and it’s amassed an enormous tanker fleet over the past 18 months and has become one of the top haulers of Russian crude, according to a Financial Times report.
India’s Gatik Ship Management is a small Indian shipping firm that has boomed to become one of the largest Russian oil transporters over the past year, the FT said. According to data from commodities data service Kpler, the firm has shipped at least 83 million barrels of Russian oil and oil products, roughly the amount of oil to meet two months of UK demand.
Meanwhile, the company amassed more oil tankers than any other known shipping firm, growing its fleet from just two tankers to 58 over the past two years, according to data from Vessels Value.
It’s unclear who owns Gatik, though industry experts have suggested the company is likely tied to Rosneft, Russia’s largest state-run oil firm. Over half Gatik’s oil exports come from Rosneft.
Gatik’s offices, which are located in a Mumbai shopping mall, are shared with the equally mysterious Buena Vista Shipping, the FT said, suggesting that both companies could be tied to Gatik’s owner. Gatik happens to own a vessel called Buena Vista, which is registered under the owner Social Club Inc. That name alludes to the Cuban band Buena Vista Social Club, which Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin has publicly admired.
Gatik and Buena Vista’s shared office space is seemingly abandoned, with mail for Gatik piling up outside of its doors, the FT report said.
Gatik’s peculiar presence in the global energy market has risen alongside India’s growing demand for crude, which is now largely supplied by Russia. Russian oil makes up 30% of India’s crude consumption, up from the 1% prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to official trade statistics.
Russia has handed off much of its crude to allies like China and India at hefty discounts, as it’s struggled to sell oil to western customers amid sanctions. Russian oil is currently banned in the EU, and Russia is unable to sell its oil using western shipping and insurance services unless it’s sold below the $60 price cap.
Russia, in response, has built up its fleet of shadow ships, which are believed to transport Russian crude to the west via uninsured and under the radar vessels.
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