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Russia’s crude oil and refined products exports remained steady at some 7.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in July, while higher oil prices and narrower price differentials for Russian crude pushed Moscow’s revenues higher compared to June, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Russian crude oil loadings were estimated to have dropped by 200,000 bpd last month, but the lower crude exports were offset by higher exports of refined petroleum products, the agency said in its Oil Market Report (OMR) on Friday.
Russian crude oil exports to China and India accounted for 80% of crude exports, but shipments to the two key markets were lower than in June, according to the IEA.
Russia’s export revenues, at $15.3 billion in July, rose by $2.5 billion from June, but they were $4.1 billion lower compared to July 2022, the agency’s estimates showed.
The rise in oil prices last month pushed the price of Russia’s flagship crude grade, Urals, to above $60 per barrel for the first time since the G7 and the EU cap came into effect at the end of last year.
Strong demand in China sent the price of Russia’s ESPO crude blend surging to the highest in eight months at the end of July as ESPO discounts to Brent were at their narrowest since the EU embargo on Russian oil imports kicked in, multiple trade sources told Reuters last month.
Strong demand for cheaper Russian crude from China’s independent refiners, competition from Indian refiners, and the OPEC+ supply cuts, including from Russia, have all combined in recent weeks to lift the price of the ESPO crude.
Russian oil exports are set to drop this month and next as Russia has promised another cut to its shipments by 300,000 bpd in September after a 500,000 bpd reduction in August.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com