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Russia Lifts Ban On Seaborne Diesel Exports

Russia lifted on Friday the ban on most of its diesel exports, two weeks after announcing export restrictions on diesel and gasoline to curb soaring domestic prices.

The Russian government said in a statement on Friday that as part of additional measures to keep the domestic fuel market stable, it is lifting the ban on exports of diesel delivered to seaports by pipeline, provided that the diesel producer supplies at least 50% of the diesel to the domestic market.

The ban on gasoline exports stays, for now.

As part of the measures announced on Friday, Russia also slapped very high export duties on fuel resellers to discourage companies that don’t produce the fuel themselves but buy it on the domestic market from exporting the fuels once the ban is lifted.  

The government also restored in full subsidies to refineries to compensate them for the difference between fuel prices in Russia and outside Russia, with the intent to encourage refiners to sell fuel on the domestic market.

Two weeks ago, Russia surprised the markets by announcing a temporary ban on exports of gasoline and diesel to stabilize domestic fuel prices amid soaring crude prices and a weak Russian ruble. Diesel and gasoline exports were temporarily banned to all countries except for four former Soviet states—Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Since the EU embargo on imports of Russian fuel came into force in early February, Russia has diverted most of its diesel exports – previously going to the EU – to Turkey, the Middle East, North and West Africa, and Brazil in South America. 

The ban affected those exports and analysts have said they don’t expect a prolonged ban on diesel shipments, because of Russia’s limited storage capacity which, once full, could force refiners to cut processing rates.  

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Just yesterday, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would keep the ban on exports of diesel and gasoline “as long as needed” and no specific deadlines for lifting the export restrictions have been set.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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