Date: 19 April 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

Russian Oil Exports Hit Record High Despite Western Sanctions

Supplies of seaborne Russian oil products totaled 3.13 million barrels per day (bpd) in March 2023, a 31.2 percent year-on-year increase. It is over the previous record of 3.1 million bpd exported in February 2022.


Exports of seaborne Russian oil products grew 17 percent month-on-month in March and 31.2 percent year-on-year. Russia’s oil product export loadings averaged 90 million barrels in March up from 69.6 million barrels in February. March oil product exports from Russian ports rose partially due to the volumes accumulated in February. In early February, companies refused to ship some oil supplies as they awaited a new price cap agreement. A full embargo of Russian oil product exports to European Union countries went into effect on February 5, 2023, including price caps on Russian fuel shipments. One is a $100-per-barrel cap on products that trade at a premium to crude, like diesel, and the other is a $45 cap for petroleum products. At the same time, the EU lifted sanctions and price caps on Russian-extracted oil products that are produced outside the country and mixed with other suppliers’ oil products. As a result, EU members Greece and Malta accounted for 88 percent of Russian oil product exports in March, Vedomosti cited energy expert Kirill Rodionov as saying. Yet Moscow has managed to divert its oil supplies to alternative markets. Breakdown of Russian oil product exports showed most of the country’s 1.28 million bpd of diesel going to Turkey and Brazil, followed by Libya and Morocco. Some 20 percent of the exported Russian diesel was delivered to unknown customers. Russian fuel oil exports also reached an all-time high of 208,000 bpd, with the main buyers being the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Singapore, and India. Markets in the European Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East were less logistically challenging for Russian oil product exports. From there, Russian oil products can be re-exported to the Far East and India.

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