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Russia Halves Gasoline Shipments via Railway After Export Ban

Russia slashed in half its gasoline exports via railway after imposing a six-month ban on exports from March 1 to ensure sufficient domestic supply in peak demand season, while several refineries are undergoing regular maintenance and urgent repairs after Ukrainian drone strikes.

Russian shipments of gasoline from refineries via railway were around 323,000 metric tons in March, according to Reuters calculations based on data from market sources. Most of these went to countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) led by Russia and countries with which Russia has inter-governmental agreements to supply fuel, per the data Reuters has analyzed.  

Russia suspended 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. In the autumn of 2023, Russia banned exports of diesel and gasoline in an effort to stabilize domestic fuel prices in the face of soaring prices and shortages as crude oil rallied and the Russian ruble weakened.

The current ban on gasoline exports aims to ensure there won’t be shortages as demand rises in the spring and summer, while refining capacity is below projections, due to Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian refineries.

Russia has seen its refining capacity diminished in recent weeks, due to seasonal maintenance, but most of all due to drone attacks from Ukraine, which have damaged several refineries that have shut down for repairs.

According to Reuters estimates, the amount of Russian oil refining capacity that has been taken offline due to Ukrainian drone strikes is 14% of Russia’s total refining capacity. Calculations show that 900,000 barrels per day of refining capacity have been taken offline by drone strikes, Reuters reported last month.

At the end of last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that the government doesn’t plan to ban diesel exports again.

“If we ban exports, we won’t have anywhere to put the diesel,” Novak said, adding that the Russian fuel market is stable, both in supply and prices.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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