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Russia's Gasoline Exports Jump As African Buyers Replace Europe

Russian gasoline exports surged in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2022, as Moscow placed growing volumes of fuels with African customers after the EU embargo on seaborne imports of Russia's fuels.   

Russian gasoline exports were estimated at 1.9 million tons in the first quarter of 2023, up compared to 1.3 million tons exported in the same period of 2022, per Refinitiv data cited by Reuters. Analysts at Kpler have estimated that Russia's exports of gasoline surged to 2.2 million tons in Q1 2023, from around 1.5 million tons for the same period a year ago. 

The EU banned—effective February 5—seaborne imports of Russian refined oil products and around 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian diesel, naphtha, and other fuels had to find a home elsewhere if Moscow wanted to continue getting money for those products. The flow of Russian fuels to third countries is also regulated by price caps, similar to the cap on Russian crude if the trade is carried out through Western insurers. The cap on Russian diesel is $100 per barrel, while the cap on lower-cost petroleum products is set at $45 a barrel. 

Ahead of the EU ban on Russian petroleum products, Russia began to divert its oil product cargoes to North Africa and Asia.  

North Africa has become a key export outlet of Russia's diesel and other petroleum products, while Russia is also boosting exports of its diesel to Latin America.

So far, tanker tracking suggests that Russia has been relatively successful in placing most of its fuels in markets other than Europe, even though Moscow has been forced to divert cargoes to distant markets to maintain export volumes, Gibson Shipbrokers said in a market report a month after the EU embargo on Russian fuels came into effect. 

"However, much depends on Russia's export strategy and ability to maintain refining runs and Western Governments' willingness to allow Russian products to be rebranded and re-exported overseas," Gibson noted. 

"In any case, the refined products price cap has created additional inefficiencies in refined products trade, which are unlikely to be reversed anytime soon, if ever."

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 13 2023 said:
    Russia hasn’t only been successful in finding new markets for its entire energy exports but has also been able to maintain them at pre-Ukraine levels.

    Here are the proofs:

    1- Russian gasoline exports to Africa surged to 1.9 million tons (176,278 b/d) in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 1.3 million tons (120,611 b/d) exported in the same period of 2022 as African buyers replaced Europe.

    2- Russia is continuing to export 8.0 million barrels a day (mbd) of crude and petroleum products as before the Ukraine crisis.

    crude exports to China and India in February and March hitting 3.56 mbd. If purchases of Turkey and other Asian countries and oil traders are added, total Russian crude exports would have exceeded 5.0 mbd.

    3- Russia’s LNG producer Novatek has been exporting its entire production of 32.6 million tons more than half of it went to the EU.

    4- The bulk of Russian gas shipments are now going to China, India, Turkey and countries of the Asia-Pacific region.

    5- Russia and China have agreed details about building the Spirit of Siberia 2 gas pipeline via Mongolia which when completed by 2030 will carry 50 billion cubic metres (bcm) annually to China bringing total gas deliveries to 80 bcm annually according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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