Oil Exports from Russia's Western Ports Hit 4-year Record

June 5, 2023

© AUUSanAKUL+ / Adobe Stock
© AUUSanAKUL+ / Adobe Stock

Russia's seaborne oil exports from Primorsk, Ust-Luga and Novorossiisk hit 4-year record of 2.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in May as domestic refineries maintenance season freed up extra barrels, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Monday.

Russia's oil exports have been growing steadily over the last couple of months even though the state pledged additional cuts in line with OPEC+ members. Saudi Arabia has recently announced a deep cut to its output in July on top of a broader OPEC+ deal.

Russian refineries cut runs in May amid major seasonal maintenance on most plants, which allowed the state to increase oil export loadings while cutting output.

"May was great in terms of supply. We're not likely to repeat such loadings soon, maybe in October," - a source in Russian oil market said adding that autumn refinery maintenance may allow for higher exports next time.

Russia is boosting oil loadings to meet higher demand of its largest buyers - India, China and Turkey. All three states did not join Western sanctions against Moscow amid its actions in Ukraine that Russia calls "special military operation".

India was the largest buyer of Russian oil Urals grade loaded from the state's ports in May accounting for about 50% of loadings, while China received some 15% of the loaded volume and Turkey - 11%, according to Reuters calculations based on Refinitiv Eikon data.

Turkey's purchases of Russian Urals oil hit a seven-month high in May as Turkish refiners took advantage of low prices for the grade. Updated data in Refinitiv Eikon showed that more than 260,000 bpd of Urals oil were shipped to Turkey's ports last month.

At least two cargoes of Urals oil were supplied for ship-to-ship operations (STS) in the Atlantic Ocean near Africa, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. Nevertheless, STS operations were no longer popular among Urals oil suppliers amid higher costs and fewer legal STS hubs allowing Russian crude for operations.

A cargo of Siberian Light oil from Novorossiisk port loaded for shipment to Sri Lanka in the end of May after a pause in supplies in April, according to Refinitiv data.


(Reuters - Reporting by Reuters; editing by David Evans)

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