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Ukraine’s Port Odessa Welcomes First U.S. WTI Crude Cargo

The Ukrainian port Odessa on the Black Sea will receive its first-ever crude oil cargo of WTI Crude from the United States, after the U.S. shipped its first oil to Ukraine just last year as it looks to wean off Russian oil and gas supplies after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

A first cargo of WTI Crude to Odessa is set for arrival at the port on Wednesday, industry sources told Reuters. According to the sources, the tanker UMLMA carries 80,000 tons of WTI Crude to Odessa. Marine Traffic data shows that the UMLMA crude oil tanker traveled from Port Neches in the U.S. and was very close to Odessa, Ukraine, early on Wednesday.

This is not the first oil cargo of American crude oil to Ukraine, but it is the first WTI Crude cargo to Odessa, a month after the front-month WTI Crude futures dipped into negative territory a day before the contract expired.

Ukraine’s first-ever U.S. crude oil cargo was received in July last year, when a tanker carried 80,000 tons of Bakken crude to the port of Odessa.

Before today, the last U.S. oil shipment to Odessa was again another Bakken crude cargo in March this year.  

Ukraine and some other countries in eastern Europe such as Poland have turned to buying American oil as they want to diminish the energy influence of their large neighbor Russia.

The entrance of U.S. oil into Odessa follows another first for US oil. The United States has also just sent the first cargo of U.S. crude oil to Belarus as part of a pledge made earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last Friday, while Belarus seeks to diversify its oil imports after a bitter spat with Russia over oil supply and prices this winter.

Despite the settling of the dispute, Belarus is still looking to diversify its oil import sources to cut dependence entirely on Russian oil supply. Earlier this month, Belarus welcomed the first cargo of crude oil from Saudi Arabia.

Belarus will continue to work with countries from which it had already bought oil, Azerbaijan and Norway, as well as its new partners Saudi Arabia and the U.S., First Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Krutoi, told the state news agency of Belarus, BelTA.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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