Shipments during April of Russian crude oil to India have, for the first time ever, exceeded the combined oil-supply to New Delhi of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing data from energy-cargo tracker Vortexa.

Exports of Russian crude to India during the period amounted to 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd), compared to 812,000 bpd imported by the South Asian nation from Iraq and 671,000 bpd of Saudi Arabian oil it bought.

The data reveals a steady increase in India’s imports of Russian crude. In March, they amounted to 1.7 million bpd, with Moscow’s share of New Delhi’s oil imports reaching 34%, double the figure for Iraq, traditionally India’s top supplier.

In contrast, Russian oil supplies to India totaled just 69,000 bpd (25 times less) in March 2022. They saw a month-over-month increase to 270,000 bpd in the following month.

Overall volumes of oil supplies from Russia are expected to remain steady in May, according to Serena Huang, an analyst at Vortexa, as cited by the agency.

The expert explained the projection citing rising competition for the Urals grade from China, the world’s second biggest consumer of crude.

India, the world’s third biggest oil-consuming nation, started boosting purchases of Russian crude offered at a discount after Western states shunned direct supplies from the country in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.