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Russia’s Oil Exports Rebound Ahead Of The EU Ban On Fuel Imports

The upcoming EU ban on fuel imports from Russia, as well as Germany and Poland halting pipeline imports of Russian crude at the start of January, pushed Russian seaborne crude oil exports higher in the week to January 27, according to vessel tracking data monitored by Bloomberg.

In the week to January 20, Russian crude oil shipments from its key export terminals slumped by 22%, or by 820,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared to the previous week, Bloomberg data showed.

But the following week, to January 27, saw Russian crude shipments increase by 480,000 bpd, or by 16%, Bloomberg’s Julian Lee notes.

The four-week average of Russia’s crude oil exports to January 27 stood at 3.34 million bpd, the highest since June, according to the estimates.

However, it’s uncertain how much crude and fuels Russia will be able to place on the global markets after the EU ban on fuel imports comes into effect on February 5. Moreover, a growing number of crude oil shipments from Russia cannot be easily tracked. Per Bloomberg’s collection of data, during the four weeks to January 27, tankers loaded with over 33 million barrels of Russian crude oil left Russian export terminals without showing a final destination.

Russian revenues from oil, albeit still massive, have declined in recent weeks, according to various estimates.

Russia’s oil exports dropped by just 200,000 bpd month on month in December to 7.8 million bpd, as crude shipments to the EU declined after the EU embargo and G7 price cap came into effect, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly Oil Market Report for January.

Record discounts for the Russian benchmark Urals grade saw Russian oil revenues slip by $3 billion in one month to $12.6 billion in December, per the IEA estimates.

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The EU oil ban and price cap are costing Russia an estimated $174 million (160 million euros) per day due to the fall in shipment volumes and prices for Russian oil, Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said in a report earlier this month. The revenue losses are expected to rise to $303 million (280 million euros) per day with additional measures that are being implemented as of February 5, according to CREA.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on January 31 2023 said:
    Despite the harshest sanctions ever imposed on a country in history and Western oil price cap on Russian oil exports, Russia managed in 2022 to export 7.8 million barrels a day (mbd) of crude oil and petroleum products compared with 8.0 mbd before the Ukraine conflict, a mere 200,000 barrels a day (b/d) reduction.

    China and India alone imported 1.9 mbd and 1.7 mbd respectively of Russian oil in 2022 with Russia displacing Saudi Arabia and India as the largest oil supplier to both countries respectively. These imports alone accounted for 45% of Russia’s oil and products exports. The balance was bought by other Asian countries and Asian oil traders.

    Moreover, Russian petroleum products which are flooding the EU before the ban goes into effect on 5 February will continue to be sold in both the United States and the EU as Chinese and Indian products refined from purchased Russian crude.

    And while Russia is doing extremely well under the sanctions, the bans on its oil exports and the price cap with its economy achieving a current account surplus of $228 bn and a trade balance surplus of $290 bn in 2022, the sane can’t be said about the economies of the United States and the EU.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert

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