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Russia Set to Slash Seaborne Diesel Exports in April

Russia is expected to see exports of diesel from its key western ports on the Baltic and Black Seas to decline by 21% in April, industry data seen by Bloomberg showed on Monday, as Russia’s refining capacity has been crippled by Ukrainian drone attacks.   

In April, loadings from the three major western Russian ports are set to drop to around 569,000 barrels per day (bpd), a 21% decline from March levels and the lowest in five months, per Bloomberg estimates of Kpler data.

Seasonal maintenance and a drop in refining capacity due to Ukrainian attacks by drones are holding back Russian diesel exports, potentially exacerbating a middle distillate crunch on the global market.

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 week.

Russia’s government doesn’t plan to ban diesel exports again, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday.

Currently, Russia produces twice the volume of diesel than domestic consumption, Novak told reporters, as quoted by Russian news agency TASS.

“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.

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.

But now Russia suspended gasoline exports from March 1 until August 31, 2024, to ensure supply for the domestic market in peak demand season.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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