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Russia’s Oil Product Exports To U.S. Surge Amid Sanctions On Venezuela

Tanker at sea

Russian exports of oil and oil products to the United States surged in the last week of February to their highest level since 2011, with Russia taking advantage of the Venezuelan collapse, Russian news outlet RBC reports, quoting investment bank Caracas Capital Markets as saying in a note to clients.

At least nine tankers delivered 3.19 million barrels of oil and oil products of Russian origin to U.S. ports in the week February 23 to March 1, according to Caracas Capital Markets, which specializes in Venezuela. These 3.19 million barrels is the largest volume of Russian oil deliveries “we have seen since 2011,” Russ Dallen, Caracas Capital Markets Managing Partner, wrote in the note, as carried by RBC.

Most of the Russian oil deliveries were naphtha and fuel oil, and tankers from Novorossiysk and St Petersburg, among others, shipped the oil products to U.S. ports, Caracas Capital said, citing the U.S. database of shipping documents.  

The rise in Russian oil shipments to the U.S. is the result of the U.S. markets adapting to the loss of Venezuelan oil, RBC quoted the bank as saying.

Ironically, Russia—the staunchest supporter of Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Venezuela—is benefiting in the U.S. oil market from the U.S. sanctions on Maduro’s government, on the state oil firm PDVSA, and on the Venezuelan oil industry.

Meanwhile, Venezuela’s crude oil exports to the U.S. are dropping.

U.S. crude oil imports from Venezuela slumped to just 83,000 bpd in the week to March 1, compared to 208,000 bpd in the previous week, according to EIA’s preliminary data on crude oil imports by top 10 countries of origin, ranked based on 2017 data.

The U.S. sanctions on Venezuela are also prohibiting U.S. exports of naphtha to the Latin American country which uses the product to dilute its heavy crude. But Russia’s Rosneft is said to be coming to the rescue with shipments of heavy naphtha to Venezuela expected in the next few weeks, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, citing shipping reports and a source with knowledge of the plans.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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