Russian exports of crude oil transported by sea continue to increase

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(Bloomberg) — Russian crude exports by sea continue unabated, despite European Union regulations that prohibit dealings with the country’s state-owned energy companies. The shipments persist even as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy renews his calls for more sanctions against Moscow.

Overall crude shipments fell slightly in the seven days to May 20, but showed little clear impact from EU restrictions that came into effect on May 15. A total of 32 tankers loaded around 24 million barrels from Russian export terminals, according to vessel tracking. port agent data and reports. This brought average maritime crude flows to 3.44 million barrels per day, down 3% from 3.55 million barrels in the week ended May 13.

Long-haul travel remained a feature of the latest data, although the volume of crude making the trip to Asia was down from the previous week. Four tankers which loaded crude in Russia’s western ports during the week showed destinations in India, with two others heading for the Suez Canal and two others en route to the Mediterranean from the Baltic. That’s down from 14 ships combined the previous week.

Russia exports crude from four main areas: the Baltic Sea in northwestern Europe, the Black Sea, the Arctic, and terminals on its Pacific coast.

Weekly shipment figures can vary depending on when tankers depart, which is also heavily influenced by weather conditions at ports, as has been the case for the past few weeks.

Urals crude flows from terminals in the Baltic, Russia’s main outlet, fell in the week of May 20 by 313,000 barrels per day, or 17%, reversing the gain of the previous week. The decline was partly offset by higher volumes from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, where flows increased by 119,000 barrels per day, or 20%.

Exports from Murmansk, which transports crude produced along Russia’s Arctic coast, also fell, falling to their lowest level in 11 weeks. Flows fell by 28,000 barrels per day, or 11%.

Meanwhile, shipments from the country’s three eastern terminals on its Pacific Ocean coast rebounded, restoring about half of the previous week’s loss, rising 105,000 barrels per day, or 13%. There was no shipment of Sokol crude from the Sakhalin-1 project for a second week.

The EU is continuing its efforts to secure approval for a sanctions package, including a phased ban on oil imports from Russia. Hungarian opposition remains the main obstacle and the EU has offered member states up to 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion) to soften the blow of losing access to Russian oil.

While the self-sanctioning of Russian crude by European companies has diverted flows to Asia, so far this has had little impact on the overall level of crude shipments. This could start to change in the coming weeks, after the new restrictions come into force on May 15, although there is little evidence of a dramatic slowdown immediately after these restrictions come into force.

Moscow’s revenue from export duties fell in line with the drop in flows. At current crude oil export duty rates, the week’s shipments will have earned the Kremlin about $164 million; that’s $5 million less than the previous week and the lowest weekly figure in eight weeks.

A bigger impact on Moscow’s revenue from crude exports came from lowering the level of export duties imposed on every barrel shipped abroad from May 1. Crude oil export duties are set at $49.60 per ton, or about $6.81 per barrel, May. That’s down from $61.20 a tonne, or $8.30 a barrel in April. Tariffs will fall another 10% in June, reflecting lower prices obtained for Urals crude over the past month.

The number of cargoes shipped from Russian ports fell by three to 32 in the week to May 20 from the previous seven days. Fewer ships left Baltic ports, while Black Sea shipments were stable. In the east, the number of tankers leaving Kozmino increased, while no vessels left De Kastri for a second consecutive week.

Shipments of Sokol crude from the peaceful port of De Kastri have been halted. The last two shipments of the April schedule were missed and there was only one shipment in the first 20 days of May. Three Russian-owned shuttle tankers that regularly carry the grade are anchored empty at the cargo terminal.

Crude flow by region

The following graphs show the destinations of crude oil shipments from each of the four export regions. Destinations are based on where ships report they are heading at the time of writing, and some will almost certainly change as voyages progress.

The volume of crude on ships loading from the Baltic terminals of Primorsk and Ust-Luga fell during the week of May 20. Volumes on tankers bound for Asia and the Mediterranean also both fell, with shipments to Asia slipping to four. weak week. Flows to traditional buyers in northwestern Europe remained stable at their lowest level since the end of March.

Crude shipments from Russian Baltic ports are still going according to plan. All cargo scheduled to be loaded in Primorsk and Ust-Luga during the week to May 20 was dispatched within a day of their scheduled loading dates.

Six tankers completed loading at Novorossiysk in the Black Sea in the week to May 20, unchanged from the previous two weeks. Larger cargoes resulted in a weekly increase in the volume of crude shipped from the port. Shipments to Asia fell to zero for the first time in 12 weeks, with all tankers remaining in the Black Sea/Mediterranean region.

Two planned shipments from Novorossiysk during the week could not be loaded. The tanker set for one docked at the terminal on Sunday, while the other remains anchored off the port.

Two ships loaded from Gazprom Neft’s Umba floating storage facility in Murmansk. One is heading to Omisalj in Croatia and the other to Paradip in India. It is the first delivery to India in seven weeks and only the second since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in late February.

Crude flows from Russia’s three eastern oil terminals resumed in the week to May 20, despite the continued absence of Sokol shipments from De Kastri.

Eight tankers loaded ESPO crude at Kozmino, one more than the previous week. It’s still pretty much on schedule to ship a record 33 shipments in May.

There have been no shipments from De Kastri, which handles Sokol crude from the Sakhalin 1 project. Three Sovcomflot tankers have been anchored empty off the oil terminal since late April, with only one cargo loaded in the first week of May and delivered in Dalian, China. Eight shipments that should have been shipped since late April, according to a shipment schedule seen by Bloomberg, have been missed.

A shipment of Sakhalin Blend crude was loaded from the terminal at the southern end of the island. It is heading for Japan – the first Russian shipment to go there in five weeks.

Long journeys and freight transfers

The number of tankers heading from export terminals in western Russia to destinations in Asia fell during the week of May 20. Four ships head for India via the Suez Canal, and two more showing their destinations as Port Said or Suez, both regular signals for ships intending to transit through the Suez Canal. One signals “for orders” and the other indicates a destination of Piraeus in Greece, another common signal from ships heading to the eastern Mediterranean.

At least one tanker that has loaded in previous weeks still displays a destination of Gibraltar. Previous ships initially showing this destination either made ship-to-ship transfers off the Spanish city of Ceuta in North Africa, continued to the Suez Canal, or made deliveries in the Mediterranean region, not changing their signal of destination only after entering this sea.

No ship-to-ship transfers of Russian crude were observed in the week leading up to May 20.

The Aframax tanker Nissos Delos remains anchored off the Sri Lankan port of Colombo, where it has been since April 25, but does not appear to have spilled any crude. The island nation’s government is seeking funds to pay for crude and products that are in tankers off its coast, including the cargo of light Siberian crude held on the Nissos Delos.

Note: This story is part of a regular weekly series tracking crude shipments from Russian export terminals and the resulting export duty receipts for the Russian government.

Note: Bloomberg uses commercial ship tracking data to monitor ship movement. Ships can avoid detection by turning off on-board transponders, as has been widely done by Iran’s tanker fleet. There is no evidence yet that this is done by tankers calling at Russian ports.

Note: Destinations are those reported by the vessel and are monitored until the cargo is unloaded. Destinations may change during a voyage, even under normal circumstances, and the final cargo discharge point may not be known until that port is reached.

Note: Freight volumes are based on loading schedules, when available, and a combination of vessel capacity and depth in water when we have no other information.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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