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U.S. Imports Of Russian Oil Expected To Soar After Hurricane Ida

The United States is set to import more Russian oil this month and next, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg, as American supply of medium sour crudes is tight with 77 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production still offline ten days after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana.

There is increased interest from refiners for Russian crude, especially the medium sour Urals grade, which is similar to the U.S. Mars blend whose production is still offline, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

The tighter supply of U.S. medium sour crudes in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida has pushed the price of Russia’s Urals up to a discount of just $1.05 per barrel to Dated Brent—the highest price for Urals in seven months—compared to a Urals discount to Brent of $1.95 a barrel before Ida, Bloomberg estimates show.

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) data as of Wednesday showed that 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd), or 76.88 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico production, was still offline.

As of Wednesday evening, September 8, damage assessment of the West Delta-143 facility continued, said Shell. The supermajor has begun the process of redeploying personnel to its Appomattox platform and continues to redeploy personnel to the Enchilada/Salsa and Auger assets.

However, Appomattox, Mars, Olympus, Ursa, Auger, and Enchilada/Salsa remain shut in, and around 80 percent of Shell-operated production is currently offline, the company said.

The U.S. was already importing record volumes of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia in June 2021, according to the latest available data from the EIA. June imports of Russian crude and oil products hit a record 848,000 barrels per day (bpd), beating the record of 844,000 bpd set in the previous month.

Last year, U.S. refiners turned to Russian oil and petroleum products to fill the gap that sanctioned Venezuelan crude and drastically reduced OPEC shipments have left in U.S. imports. Russia mostly displaced the market previously held by Venezuela—now unable to sell its heavy oil to U.S. refiners because of the American sanctions on Nicolas Maduro’s regime.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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