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Academics: Russia Selling Oil Way Over Price Cap

Russia raked in significantly more money from its crude oil sales than previously thought, a group of academics have said.

Russia took in more money in the weeks that followed the oil price cap implemented on December 5 last year, calculations from academics at the Institute of International Finance, Columbia University, and the University of California show.

The calculations show that Russia sold its crude oil for about $74 per barrel on average, according to the paper “Assessing the Impact of International Sanctions on Russian Oil Exports” published on the Social Science Research Network.

The paper studied two things: the effects of the EU embargo and the G7 price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil.

“We find that Russia was able to redirect crude oil exports from Europe to alternative markets such as India, China, and Turkey but that export earnings were curbed substantially by the sizable discounts that Russian exporters had to accept in market segments where the impending EU embargo lowered demand.”

“However,” the report goes on to say, “we do not find crude oil discounts as large as those reflected in Urals prices toward the end of 2022. In particular, prices in market segments that are unaffected by lower European demand, e.g., exports from Russia’s Pacific Ocean ports, have not dropped in a meaningful way and shipments do not appear to comply with the price cap.”

“Moreover, our surprising finding of a significant share of Russian crude oil being sold well-above the price cap level of $60 a barrel urgently calls for further investigation of these transactions and reinforces the need for stepped-up enforcement,” the authors said, and recommended that ‘the price caps on crude oil should be lowered as soon as possible.”

The analysis covered the four weeks following the implementation of the price cap.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on February 25 2023 said:
    Texas versus Iowa round one got it.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 25 2023 said:
    This only goes to prove exactly what I have been saying since the introduction of the Western oil price cap namely that that Russia’s preferential price discounts to its loyal customers are only a few dollars less than the Brent crude price at the time.

    Yet Western media disinformation was portraying the cap as a success when in fact it was a stillbirth. That is why it failed to even make the slightest dent on Russia’s oil exports which hit in January 8.2 million barrels a day (mbd) or 2.5% higher than its pre-Ukraine exports of 8.0 mbd. This trend is continuing so far in 2023.

    Moreover, the cap hasn’t precipitated a budget deficit of $24 bn in Russia’s budget in January as Western media was claiming. In fact Russia’s budget and economy are both in far better shape than the United States’ and the EU’s.

    Brent crude at $83 a barrel today is 17% higher than when the cap was launched on 5 December.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert
  • Brad Kort on February 24 2023 said:
    Didn't Yellen just say the price caps were "working as intended"?

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