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Russian Seaborne Crude Continues To Flow

Despite Russia’s professed plan to scale back its crude oil production, the country’s seaborne crude oil exports reached 4 million barrels per day. It is only the second time a level that high has been achieved since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russia warned in February that it would cut crude oil production in the sanctioned nation by 500,000 bpd due to EU import bans and price caps on its crude oil and oil products. Initially, Russia said this lowered production would apply to March. But Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced part way through March that the cuts would be extended.

According to Russia, as of late March, its seaborne crude exports fell 123,000 bpd—but still were above 3 million barrels per day.

New tanker tracking data compiled by Bloomberg shows that Russia’s exports have now rebounded to above 4 million bpd as of the week ending April 28, virtually unchanged on a four-week-average basis.

The above does not reflect a 500,000 bpd production cut, although at the end of April, Russia said its production cuts were significantly higher than promised.

But Russia’s crude oil production and export figures are shrouded in mystery after the country stopped publishing its crude and condensate production data. The Russian government ordered a complete halt to publishing statistics on oil, gas, and condensate until April 1 of next year.

Russia’s oil product exports don’t seem to be slowing either.

Reuters calculations show that Russia’s seaborne oil product exports rose in March by more than 17% month on month to 12.374 million tonnes.

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Much of Russia’s seaborne crude oil is making its way to India and China. According to Bloomberg, four-week average shipments to Russia’s Asian customers and shipments onto vessels that have no declared destination slipped slightly to 3.25 million bpd for week ending April 28, down 30,000 bpd rom the week prior.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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