Indian state-refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp is re-attempting to charter a ship to load 700,000 barrels of Russia’s Sokol crude oil this month, sources familiar with the deal said.

The Sokol cargo had been one of two sold by ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm of and Natural Gas Corp to refiners Hindustan Petroleum Corp and BPCL in March.

The cargoes, originally scheduled to load in May, could not be lifted as ship insurance cover had not been available then due to pressure from Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

BPCL has provisionally booked the Russian tanker Yuri Senkevich and is trying to obtain insurance coverage, they said.

The vessel is managed by managed by SCF Management Services (Dubai) Ltd, a Dubai-based entity listed as a subsidiary on Sovcomflot’s website.

India recognises cover provided by Russian insurance companies and Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) provides classification to vessels managed by SCF Dubai.

ONGC Videsh and BPCL did not respond to Reuters’ emails seeking comments.

Production at Sakhalin 1 has been hit due to force majeure declared by the operator Exxon Mobile Corp after sanctions had made it difficult to ship crude to customers.

ONGC has a 20% stake in the Sakhalin 1 project that produces a Russian grade known as Sokol, which ONGC exports through tenders.

Sokol is mostly bought by North Asian buyers and loaded from South Korea.

India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer and importer, has not banned Russian oil imports.

Indian companies are snapping up Russian oil as it is available at a deep discounts after some companies and countries shunned purchases from Moscow due to sanctions against Russia for its Ukraine invasion.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News