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Russian Oil Exports Remain High Despite Production Cut

Russia's crude oil shipments continued to average a high of 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in the week to April 21 despite the 500,000 bpd production cut Moscow claims to be implementing by the end of this year, vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg showed on Monday. 

Russian crude oil shipments were only slightly down last week compared to the prior week, down by some 35,000 bpd to average 3.4 million bpd in the week to April 21, Bloomberg's Julian Lee noted, commenting on the tanker-tracking data.   

Russia's crude oil exports were up by 72,000 bpd to average 3.46 million bpd on a four-week average basis, a more reliable measure of exports than weekly tanker tracking. The four-week average figure showed the highest Russian exports by that measure in ten months, per the data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Most of Russia's crude is now going to Asia, predominantly to China and India. Russian four-week average exports of crude oil to Asia jumped to a record-high of 3.28 million bpd in the four weeks to April 21, which was 100,000 bpd higher than in the previous four-week period to March 31. 

The main destinations of Russian crude oil shipments continue to be China, India, and Turkey, while the cargoes currently labeled as headed to "unknown destination" eventually end up in one of those three countries.

In the week to April 14, Russian crude shipments rebounded to above 3 million bpd again, following a week of lower exports in early April. The latest data after that suggest that the fall in exports in early April may have been short-lived.

The observed rise in Russian crude oil exports over the past two weeks is not reflective of the ongoing production cut of 500,000 bpd and Moscow's claims that it had cut its output in March by 700,000 bpd

By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com 

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