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Tightening global crude supply and rising international prices have raised the price at which Russia’s crude is being sold to India at about $20 per barrel over the G7 price cap of $60, traders have told Reuters.
The Russian flagship crude grade, Urals, is being sold to one of Moscow’s top customers, India, at nearly $80 per barrel now, or around 30% above the price cap set by the G7 and the EU if Russian crude shipments to third countries outside the EU are to use Western insurance and financing.
Data from traders and Reuters calculations showed that free on board (FOB) Urals cargoes to load from Russia’s western ports on the Baltic Sea in October were nearly $80 a barrel for Indian refiners as of Thursday.
The tightening global supply, especially crudes from the Middle East which have high diesel yields, have made Russia’s Urals more attractive, due to the discount at which the Russian grades trade relative to the international benchmark Brent. In India, where diesel is the number-one fuel in terms of consumption, Urals is in high demand, despite being much more expensive compared to the first half of this year.
But other similar grades, if available at all, are costlier than Urals.
“Urals prices are on the rise again. Alternatives are much more expensive and not easily available,” one trader with knowledge of the Russian oil market told Reuters.
The price of Urals breached the G7 price cap in July and has averaged well above the ceiling since then.
Urals prices averaged $74 per barrel in August, slightly down from August 2022, but way above the G7 price cap of $60 and higher than the July average of $64.37 a barrel, data released by the Russian Finance Ministry showed in early September. Between January and August 2023, the average price of Urals was $56.58 per barrel, compared to an average of $82.13 a barrel for the same period of 2022.
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.