Clarification: When the EU embargo comes, the place will Russia promote its crude oil?

A mannequin of an oil barrel is seen in entrance of a “cease” signal, the colours of the EU and Russian flags on this illustration taken March 8, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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MOSCOW, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Russia has elevated oil shipments to Asia since Europe imposed sweeping sanctions, however nonetheless must reroute greater than 1 / 4 of its crude exports from Europe – or about 1.3 million barrels a day – when a full oil embargo hits in December. Russia exports about 20 million tonnes of crude oil a month – about 5 million barrels per day (bpd) – by a number of routes, together with the Druzhba pipeline to Europe and others to Asia.

In August, complete Russian exports by European ports and the Druzhba pipeline amounted to 12.05 million tons, of which about 5.5 million tons (1.3 million bpd) have been despatched to nations that can cease importing Russian oil from Dec. 5.

Russia must discover new consumers for the crude, which can require low cost costs and particular phrases, whereas additionally dealing with dearer logistics to ship to extra distant locations, merchants stated.

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“Russia’s Ural oil has at all times been a grade for Europe. Now to achieve new markets one has to ship cargo outdoors Europe amid rising issues about transportation prices, insurance coverage and time”, stated a dealer within the Russian oil market.

The US and the European Union are additionally engaged on a value cap for Russian oil, arguing it could assist cut back revenue for Moscow whereas holding international power costs low.

Moscow has stated it won’t promote oil to nations that impose limits and merchants say they don’t see the transfer working.

“Russia may be very unlikely to work with a value cap, it would not make sense for Moscow politically and economically. It is simpler for it to barter a non-public supply than to brazenly decide to some value cap decided by the West,” one other dealer concerned in oil buying and selling Russia advised Reuters.

Russia exported 8.85 million tonnes of Urals oil in August from its European ports, of which India, China and Turkey – which aren’t anticipated to affix the embargo – purchased about half, whereas the remainder went to Europe. Russia additionally provides Europe with about 3.2 million tons of oil per 30 days by the Druzhba pipeline. The route is technically exempt from the embargo as a result of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic wish to proceed shopping for from it.

However the principle consumers from Druzhba – Germany and Poland – wish to cease shopping for from 2023, that means about two million tonnes a month must discover new consumers.


Rerouting oil from Druzhba might be a tough process, as Russian oil ports have restricted export capability and sellers want to rearrange for extra tankers, merchants stated.

Russia can’t redirect massive volumes of the Urals to the East Siberian Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline, which is already pumping near capability. That makes delivery by Europe and the Suez Canal the one potential route for Urals crude to Asia.

Even when Moscow presents higher phrases, India and China are unlikely to have the ability to purchase extra Russian crude as a result of they’ve a number of long-term contracts with rival producers, comparable to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“Russian corporations are already providing reductions, delivery prices and insurance coverage protection, fee choices and different advantages to maintain consumers,” stated a supply with an Asian oil buying and selling firm.

Russian corporations additionally want to alter the way in which they promote crude oil.

Asian oil markets have an earlier buying and selling cycle than European markets: in mid-September Asian consumers commerce December loading cargoes, whereas Europe continues to be pricing October loadings.

To keep away from relying completely on China, India and Turkey for gross sales, Russia has been attempting to court docket smaller gamers, merchants stated. Sri Lanka has stated it’ll begin shopping for oil from Russia, however has solely purchased round 300,000 tonnes of Urals thus far this yr, based on Refinitiv Eikon information. Cuba has purchased 200,000 tonnes of Urals this yr. “Small gamers are undoubtedly not sufficient for Russian oil to soak up. China is the final resort for Russian oil or Moscow must lower manufacturing finally,” stated a 3rd dealer concerned within the Russian oil market.

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Reporting by Reuters reporter Enhancing by Mark Potter

Our Requirements: Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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