Russia's second-largest oil producer Lukoil has set up ship-to-ship (STS) loadings of Urals oil near the western port of Kaliningrad, Refinitiv Eikon data showed and trading sources told Reuters on Wednesday.
The data shows 100,000 tonnes of Urals crude was loaded on the Andaman Skies tanker at the Baltic port of Primorsk on Feb. 11. The tanker, chartered by Lukoil's trading arm Litasco, then moved to the Kaliningrad region and subsequently reloaded to the Ruby Phoenix tanker, sources said.
Lukoil did not reply to a request for comment.
STS loadings of Russian Urals crude hit a record high in the Mediterranean in January as traders moved cargoes onto larger vessels to make long haul shipments to Asia more cost-effective.
Since the European Union banned purchases of Russian sea-borne oil in December over Moscow's actions in Ukraine, the bulk of Russian oil has been diverted to Asia.
STS operations involve the transfer of cargo in international waters from smaller to larger vessels or from ice-class vessels to non-ice vessels, improving the profitability of long-haul trips.
(Reuters - Reporting by Reuters; Editing by David Goodman)