Date: 17 May 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

Russian Seaborne Oil Exports Hit Record High

Russian seaborne oil product exports rebounded to the highest level since the start of its war with Ukraine, before it invaded Ukraine, despite Western sanctions. The shipping data shows that Russian product exports headed to India and China surged. India makes money from processing cheap Russian oil in its refineries before reselling it to Europe. Indian oil is increasingly used to produce diesel and aviation fuel.


Moscow’s seaborne exports of crude oil rose by 10 percent since April. In just four weeks to May 12, Russian oil on water hit a record high of 3.61 million barrels per day (bpd). That means an increase from 3.55 million bpd between April 7 and May 5. Russia’s oil exports continue to surge despite Moscow’s plans to cut its oil production by 500,000 bpd by the end of 2023. Consequently, many analysts doubt whether it might actually happen. Oil exports from Russian ports flow to China, India, or unknown destinations across Asia, perhaps refineries in China, India, or Turkey. Moscow thus has been able to circumvent the restrictions, a headache for the countries behind the sanctions led by the European Union. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said the European Union should crack down on India reselling Russian oil into Europe as refined fuel. However, it is a challenging task politically and technically. The price of Russian oil has surged so the rise lifted Russia’s estimated revenue from oil exports. The price of Russia’s flagship Urals crude oil blend in April was $58.63 per barrel, down 23 percent from March and close to a $60 price cap agreed by G7 countries to curb Russian revenue from oil exports. The difference in the price of Urals and Brent crude is thus shrinking.

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