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Russia’s Oil Export Earnings Set To Decline On Heavily Discounted Urals

While Moscow said earlier this week it was anticipating a more than $6-billion boost in oil revenues in June, despite sanctions, a new report from Bloomberg shows that while Russian seaborne crude oil shipments have increased, Moscow is earning far less on exports. 

In the seven days to June 3rd, Russian crude oil shipments by sea hit their highest rate in six weeks, according to Bloomberg. However, those cargoes are being sold to Asian buyers at heavy discounts. 

Russia is still raking in oil revenues, but it’s selling more, for less.

For the seven days to June 3rd, Bloomberg cites tanker data as showing a 10% increase from the week ended May 27th. India continues to lead the buying spree, taking in 660,000 bpd of discounted Russian crude in May for a nearly 2.5-fold increase over the previous month. 

As of a week ago, Russian oil was selling at a 30% discount to the global benchmark, according to Bloomberg. The spread between cheapers Urals crude and the Brent crude is now more than $5 per barrel, making Urals grade nearly $3 cheaper than at the start of the year. 

Once the European Union’s sixth sanctions package is fully implemented, we could see a further diversion of Russian exports at heavily discounted prices, and a potential drop in revenues. The EU ban on Russian oil imports goes into force in the first week of December and only targets seaborne imports, not pipeline imports. However, two countries–Germany and Poland–have vowed to stop taking in piped Russian crude, as well. If they make good on their pledge, Europe should reduce Russian oil imports by around 90%, according to Bloomberg, citing data from Russia’s Transneft pipeline operator. 

Last week, Fitch projected that Russia could see between 2 million bpd and 3 million bpd of its oil exports—or about a quarter of the country’s oil production—disappear from the global market by end-2022.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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