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Russian Oil Refinery Woes Drive Decline in Q1 Exports

Russian oil refineries experienced decreased production, contributing to the country's ongoing export decline in the first quarter of this year, Russia's central bank said on Thursday. According to a report released by the bank, goods exports dwindled from $105.1 billion to $97.9 billion compared to the same period last year. The report did not spell out figures for oil exports specifically.

The decline in Russia’s goods exports was further attributed to unforeseen repairs triggered by drone attacks on some refineries. Ukrainian drone strikes, in retaliation to Russian air strikes and infrastructure damage, disrupted Russian fuel production.

The central bank underscored that export values continued to decline amidst external trade constraints and global price reductions in gas, coal, and several metals. Lower refinery production also exerted downward pressure on exports, it added. However, the year-on-year decrease in export value moderated in part due to buoyant oil prices.

Furthermore, the bank noted that high interest rates and a weakened rouble compared to the previous year contributed to a 10% year-on-year decline in goods imports.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian drones hit the primary refining unit of Russia’s third-largest refinery, Taneco, southeast of Moscow more than 800 miles from the front line. The refinery has a capacity to process 340,000 bpd of crude oil, with its primary refining unit—the unit that was hit—capable of processing 155,000 bpd.

As much as 900,000 bpd worth of Russian refining capacity had been taken offline due to Ukrainian drone strikes, according to Reuters calculations from the beginning of April.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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