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Russia has been raising its exports of fuels in recent weeks as refiners ramped up processing and Moscow lifted most restrictions on exports of fuels that were introduced in September.
Russia’s fuel exports by sea averaged around 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to December 17—the highest volume of fuel shipments since the middle of September, per data from analytics firm Vortexa compiled by Bloomberg.
Weekly exports in the week ending December 17 surged to over 3 million bpd—the highest level of weekly fuel exports since the end of March, according to the data.
Weekly exports are more volatile and representative of loading schedules and weather-related loading disruptions, but the four-week averages continue to show an increase in Russian fuel shipments amid higher refining processing rates and continued easing of fuel export restrictions.
In late September and early October, Russia had a temporary ban on diesel shipments, as well as a nearly two-month-long ban on gasoline exports between the end of September and the middle of November. Russia motivated the bans with the need to stabilize domestic fuel prices amid soaring crude prices and a weak Russian ruble.
The latest jump in fuel exports and continued strong observed crude oil shipments further muddles estimates of Russian oil supply to the market and Moscow’s adherence to its pledged export cuts.
Russia has vowed to reduce its oil exports by 300,000 bpd until the end of 2023, in a show of solidarity with its OPEC+ partner Saudi Arabia, which is voluntarily reducing its oil production by 1 million bpd until 2023.
At the latest OPEC+ meeting, Russia said it would deepen the export cut to 500,000 bpd in the first quarter of 2024, with May and June of 2023 being the reference export levels for the cut, which will consist of 300,000 bpd of crude and 200,000 bpd of refined products.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has classified its oil production and export data, saying it would not provide detailed information about its oil sector which could be used by the West to track down and clamp down on Russia’s oil exports, or oil revenues.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.