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Storm Halts Oil Loadings at Russian Black Sea Port

Loadings of oil from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk in Russia have been suspended since Sunday because of a storm in the area, disrupting export schedules once again, Reuters reported on Monday, quoting sources with knowledge of the situation.

Russia had planned to load around 1.8 million tons of crude of the Urals, Siberian Light, and Kazakh Export Blend Crude Oil (KEBCO) grades this month from Novorossiysk, according to data compiled by Reuters from loading schedules it had obtained.  

This autumn and winter season has seen so far several disruptions to oil loadings from Novorossiysk as storms in the Black Sea have halted operations several times at the port since the end of November.  

In late November, bad weather conditions in the Black Sea led to restrictions on oil exports and port operations, disrupting up to 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil exports from Kazakhstan and Russia, according to data from state officials and port agents cited by Reuters at the time.

In December, a storm and planned maintenance forced Russia to suspend briefly around two-thirds of the shipments of its flagship crude grade Urals from its Baltic and Black Sea ports. Overall, all ports in Russia’s western regions, that is, the ports on the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, were planned to load around 1.9 million bpd in December, down by 6% compared to November.

In the first week of 2024, Russian crude oil exports by sea were aligned with the level Moscow has pledged to maintain as part of the OPEC+ agreement, tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg showed last week.

Russian crude oil shipments between January 1 and January 7 averaged 3.28 million bpd—exactly 300,000 bpd below the observed exports by sea in May and June, which are used as reference levels for Russia’s promised reduction of 300,000 bpd of crude exports, according to the data reported by Bloomberg’s Julian Lee.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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