Russian oil exports rebound, but struggle to find buyers outside Asia

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Crude oil shipments from Russia rebounded in the first full week of April to their highest level so far this year, although some shipments are scheduled for longer than usual journeys to Russia. Asia, according to Bloomberg News tracking of crude leaving Russian ports watch Monday.

In the week to April 8, outbound Russian crude averaged nearly 4 million barrels per day (bpd), the highest volume leaving Russian ports this year. While Russia is shipping the highest level of crude cargoes so far this year, not all cargoes have final destinations in their trackers and many of them are destined for long journeys from European ports via South Africa en route to Asia, according to Bloomberg tanker tracking data.

Russian shipments rebounded after the previous two weeks of declining outbound volumes, the data showed. He also found that signs have started to emerge that traders are scrambling to move more Russian crude to Asia as many companies and countries in Europe are in “self-sanction” mode and do not wish to accept Russian oil. For example, the northwest European market for Russia’s flagship Ural crude oil is disappearing.

Prior to the Russian war in Ukraine, Northwestern Europe took much of the Urals from the Baltic ports of Primorsk and Ust-Luga.

Some of those shipments are now heading to Asia, where buyers such as India and China don’t shy away from Russian crude and even benefit from the record discounts at which Russian oil is sold in the spot market relative to Brent. date. .

The journey between Russia’s Baltic ports and Asia is much longer, but some traders and refiners seem to have concluded that the steep discounts are worth it.

Asian buyers continue to buy one of the main grades of Russian crude shipped from Far Eastern ports as Sokol shipments for May shipments to Asia have already run out, traders said . Bloomberg Last week.

Crude from the Sakhalin I project, whose operator ExxonMobil mentioned it would withdraw after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was sold forward or spot to South Korea, China and India, Bloomberg’s sources said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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