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Tanker operators willing to ship Russian crude are making a substantial amount of money sending Russian crude to China from Russia’s Far East.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, by shipping Russian ESPO crude from Kozmino to the Chinese coast, a ship owner can make $1.6 million—three times what they would have made before the war in Ukraine.
The report cited shipowners who said that industry players from Greece, China, and Turkey are eagerly taking advantage of the situation. Normally, they use Aframax tankers, which can carry about 730,000 bpd of crude, and transport ESPO from the Kozmino port on Russia’s Pacific coast.
The journey from there to China takes five days, the Bloomberg report notes, which reduces the downtime for tankers that then return empty to Kozmino, making the route particularly lucrative, according to shipping industry sources.
China has become the main destination for Russian oil, along with India, since Moscow invaded Ukraine in late February. The European Union has announced plans to impose an embargo on Russian oil imports later this year, but in the meantime, it is taking in all it can to stock up ahead of the embargo.
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On a broader global scene, the G7 earlier this month discussed setting a price cap on Russian export crude in a bid to curb the country’s revenues from oil and gas sales while keeping the global market well supplied.
In a note commenting on the idea, JP Morgan analysts warned that should Russia retaliate for the price cap, it could push oil prices to some $380 per barrel.
In the first three months since the start of what Moscow calls a special military operation in Ukraine, it made $97 billion from oil and gas exports, according to a Finland-based pollution think-tank, the Centre For Research on Energy and Clean Air.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.