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Russian Fuel Exports Jump To 8-Month High

A surge in fuel oil exports pushed Russia’s refined petroleum product shipments in the four weeks to December 31 to the highest level in eight months, data from Vortexa compiled by Bloomberg showed on Friday.  

Russian oil product exports averaged nearly 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to December 31, up by 6% compared to the four-week average for the week to December 24, according to the data.  

In the week to December 24, the four-week average exports of fuels out of Russia stood at around 2.6 million bpd, an increase of around 157,000 bpd from the four-week average to December 17, and the highest level in more than seven months.

Russia’s diesel and gasoil exports averaged around 1.17 million bpd for the month of December—the highest monthly export level of 2023, as Moscow eased diesel export restrictions and loadings from the Black Sea ports rebounded after some delays due to storms in November.  

Russia had a temporary ban on diesel shipments in late September and early October, 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 and Moscow’s adherence to its pledged export cuts. 

Russia vowed to reduce its oil exports by 300,000 bpd until the end of 2023.

At the latest OPEC+ meeting at the end of November, Russia said it would deepen the export cut to 500,000 bpd in the first quarter of 2024 – with May and June 2023 being the reference export levels for the cut. The cut this quarter will consist of reductions in exports of 300,000 bpd of crude and 200,000 bpd of refined products.       

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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