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Russian Oil Exports On Western Tankers Surge

Export shipments of Russian crude have risen substantially this month, with most of these leaving on Western-insured tankers thanks to prices, which are lower than the G7 and EU price cap.

Per a Reuters report citing tanker tracking data and industry insiders, oil loadings from Primorsk, Ust-Luga, and Novorosiisk are set to top 9.5 million tons in total this month as Urals, Russia’s flagship blend drops below $50, when the price cap set by the G7 and the EU is $60 per barrel.

A quarter of all Urals shipments from Russia this month were handled by EU vessels, Reuters noted in its report.

However, per Oilprice data, the other two crude oil blends that Russia sells abroad, Sokol and ESPO, are trading well above the price cap, with Sokol changing hands at around $77 per barrel as of Tuesday and ESPO trading at over $72 per barrel.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the Kremlin banned sellers of Russian oil in Russia itself from including price cap-related clauses in their contracts with buyers. The ban follows a decree issued by President Vladimir Putin in December that prohibited the sales of Russian oil and fuels to countries implementing a price cap on these commodities.

Per a resolution signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, oil producers will also be obliged to submit a declaration to Russian customs for each cargo sold, attesting to the fact that the price-cap mechanism hasn’t been used.  Russian customs, then, will review old and new crude oil export contracts—and customs reserves the right to stop any cargo that violates Putin’s decree.

The European Union is currently discussing price caps for Russian fuels, after the EU embargo on these comes into effect on February 5th. Under consideration are proposals to set one cap for fuels that trade at as premium to crude oil, such as diesel, and another cap for oil products that trade at a discount to crude.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Francisco Napoleao on February 01 2023 said:
    It would be extremely interesting to know how much of Urals has been produced and if Espo has increased in quantity. Also it would be quite interesting to evaluate sells o Russian oil to central Asia by pipeline and even by train. There is the possibility to deviate some siberian oil that used to be blended in Urals and divert it to the Espo pipeline. Most of Sokol is sold to Japan and Japan has been insuring the ships.

    The fact that such a big quantity of oil is being sold at such low prices is creating advantages in some parts of the world, making the EU competitiveness eroding massively. The EU knows that has economic numbers get worse and worse. It is not new for western countries to present statistic in a way markets don't feel nervosity . The fact that central banks are running low in actives is a major concern.

    A major impact for Russia will be the embargo on oil products. But if Russia reduces oil exports it will blow the market for diesel and gasoline.

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