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Refinery Repairs Drag Down Russia’s Oil Product Exports in April

Russia’s fuel shipments dipped by 14.6% in April compared to March, as refinery repairs, seasonal maintenance, and a gasoline export ban weighed on Moscow’s petroleum product exports last month, according to Reuters calculations and data Reuters obtained from industry sources.

In April, Russia exported a total of 8.415 million metric tons of oil products by sea, down by 14.6% from March. 

Russia has had higher-than-expected maintenance and repairs at its refiners in recent months after Ukraine stepped up early this year its drone attacks on the Russian refining capacity. In addition to unplanned repairs to fix damages from the drones, some refineries underwent planned maintenance, which also dragged down Russia’s fuel exports in April.

Moreover, Russia currently has a temporary gasoline export ban in place after suspending gasoline exports from March 1 until August 31, 2024, to ensure supply for the domestic market in peak demand season, in a second such export ban in just a few months. 

As of mid-April, Russia had brought back online some oil refining units, reducing the capacity taken offline by Ukrainian drone hits to around 10%, from 14% at the end of March.

The refining capacity in Russia that was offline due to drone attacks was estimated by Reuters in mid-April at around 660,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared to 907,000 bpd offline at the end of March.

However, just as Russia had started to bring back some refinery capacity damaged by Ukrainian drone attacks earlier this year, a new wave of drone attacks hit a major refinery owned by Rosneft, for a second time, in early May.

Rosneft’s Ryazan refinery southeast of Moscow caught fire after the overnight drone attack, an anonymous Ukrainian military source with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg News on May 1.

Russia said in early April it could repair all damaged units within two months.

Russia’s Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said that all damaged refineries in the country would be restarted by the beginning of June.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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