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Early Winter Disrupts Russia’s Black Sea Oil Exports

Bad weather at Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiysk is delaying loadings and creating traffic congestion on the straits of the Black Sea leading to the Mediterranean, trading sources told Reuters.

Early winter storms have delayed loadings at the Novorossiysk and Yuzhnaya Ozereyevka terminals and disrupted the schedules of crude deliveries of the Urals and CPC Blend grades in November and December, according to the sources.

“Weather conditions in Novorossiysk are terrible. Nearly every cargo loading has been delayed,” one source working with the port told Reuters.

The loading schedule of the Novorossiysk terminal for last month and this month has been upended, and loadings are one to five days behind the original schedule, the source added.

According to traders with knowledge of the Novorossiysk port operations, around 300,000 tons of the Russian crude grades Urals and Siberian Light have been delayed from the loading schedule at Novorossiysk from November to December.

Congestion at the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, the straits connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean, is not helping either, and the round Mediterranean-Black Sea trip for a vessel has now nearly tripled to up to 20 days in December, from seven days on average for 2021, according to Riverlake tanker data on Refinitiv Eikon’s terminal.

As a result of the disrupted loadings and travel schedules, shipping costs have increased for Black Sea cargoes of Russian crude, while the cargoes are being offered on a free on board (FOB) basis, which does not include freight costs for suppliers.

Cargoes loading the Urals blend at Novorossiysk have seen their discount to cargoes loading at the port of Primorsk on the Baltic Sea widen in recent weeks. Black Sea cargoes of Urals are now being priced at $0.96 a barrel discount on an FOB basis to oil loading at Primorsk, compared to a discount of just $0.07 a barrel between January and October, according to Refinitiv Eikon data cited by Reuters.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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