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Ahead of the December 5th implementation of a European Union ban on seaborne imports of Russian crude, European buyers are now said to be buying up more Russian oil than they have in four months.
Last week, seaborne exports of Russian crude oil to European buyers rose to their highest level since April, Bloomberg reports, citing vessel-tracking data.
For the week ending August 19th, Bloomberg reports that total flows of Russian seaborne crude exports rose from 3.24 million barrels per day to 3.41 million barrels the previous week, and the bulk of that increase was to European buyers.
Approximately 90% of Russian crude exports to Europe are seaborne.
In June, the European Council adopted the bloc’s sixth package of sanctions, banning the purchase, import, or transfer of crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia to the EU. The ban on crude oil goes into effect on December 5th, while the ban on other petroleum products goes into effect in February 2023.
There are plenty of exemptions, however, including for those EU member states who are highly reliant on Russian oil and do not have viable alternatives.
The increase in volumes of Russian crude to Europe over the past week tracked by Bloomberg largely went to the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, as well as to northern Europe. Exports. Of the total flow, 140,000 bpd went to the Mediterranean.
As December 5th draws closer, the price of Russia’s Urals crude has been trending higher as European buyers snap up new loads ahead of the ban, Reuters reports, citing traders.
Reuters also noted on Monday that Turkey has doubled its imports of Russian crude so far this year, citing Refinitiv Eikon data.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com