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Russia's Refined Oil Exports Hit Seven-Month High

Russia’s exports of refined oil products rose to their highest level in over seven months in the four weeks to December 24, as Russian refiners boosted petroleum processing, data from Vortexa compiled by Bloomberg showed on Thursday.   

During the four weeks to December 24, the four-week average exports of fuels out of Russia stood at around 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd), an increase of around 157,000 bpd from the four-week average to December 17, according to the data.  

However, the more inconsistent data on weekly fuel shipments showed that in the week to December 24, Russian petroleum product exports were down by 660,000 bpd from the previous week, and averaged 2.5 million bpd, the data showed. 

Weekly exports are more volatile and representative of loading schedules and weather-related loading disruptions, but the four-week averages have continued to increase amid higher refining processing rates and continued easing of Russia’s fuel export restrictions.  

Weekly exports in the week ending December 17 surged to over 3 million bpd—the highest level of weekly fuel exports since the end of March, per Vortexa data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Russia had a temporary ban on diesel shipments in late September and early October, as well as a nearly two-month-long ban on gasoline exports between the end of September and the middle of November. Russia motivated the bans with the need to stabilize domestic fuel prices amid soaring crude prices and a weak Russian ruble.   

The latest jump in fuel exports and continued strong observed crude oil shipments further muddles estimates of Russian oil supply and Moscow’s adherence to its pledged export cuts. 

Russia has vowed to reduce its oil exports by 300,000 bpd until the end of 2023.

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At the latest OPEC+ meeting at the end of November, Russia said it would deepen the export cut to 500,000 bpd in the first quarter of 2024 – with May and June 2023 being the reference export levels for the cut – which will consist of 300,000 bpd of crude and 200,000 bpd of refined products.   

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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