Russia’s crude oil exports by sea rose in the four weeks to May 12 to a new record-high and are now estimated to have increased by 10% from early April, tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg showed on Monday.
Crude on vessels departed from Russia’s oil export terminals and en route to international markets hit another record at 3.61 million barrels per day (bpd) in the four-week period to May 12, according to the data reported by Bloomberg’s Julian Lee.
That’s the highest volume of Russian seaborne crude oil exports since Bloomberg started detailed tracking of the vessels and cargoes at the beginning of 2022. It is also higher than the previous high of 3.55 million bpd in the four weeks to May 5.
Volumes headed to China and India in the four-week period to May 12 were also at a record, considering that nearly all Russian exports are now headed to the two biggest Asian importers and other destinations in Asia flashed as “unknown” on vessel data.
Russian crude oil shipments have now increased in four out of the five latest four-week periods, per Bloomberg’s estimates, despite Russia’s insistence that it is cutting oil production by 500,000 bpd and even more.
Russia warned in February that it would cut its crude oil production by 500,000 bpd due to EU import bans and price caps on its crude oil and oil products. Initially, Russia said this lowered production would apply to March. But Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced part way through March that the cuts would be extended.
Those 500,000 bpd cuts will now extend until the end of 2023, but crude oil export data in recent weeks do not reflect any cuts—on the contrary, Russian crude oil exports by sea are rising.
Last week, reports emerged that Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin sought to convince Western analysts in a rare call earlier this month that Russia is indeed reducing its oil production by 500,000 bpd.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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