Russia’s crude oil exports by sea jumped by 880,000 barrels per day (bpd) week-over-week to 3.4 million bpd in the week to August 27, tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg showed on Tuesday.
The surge in crude shipments comes ahead of an expected plunge in refined product exports due to strong domestic demand and high refinery throughput as the government subsidies for refineries are set to be slashed as of September 1, according to the data reported by Bloomberg’s Julian Lee.
The surge in Russia’s crude exports may not be sustainable as week-on-week shipments show high volatility, according to Lee’s observations.
The four-week average crude shipments were only 40,000 bpd higher in the four weeks to August 27, compared to the previous four weeks.
Vessel-monitoring data have also shown that in recent weeks Russia has more or less followed through on its pledge to cut crude oil exports in August by 500,000 bpd. Shipments from Russia’s western ports have declined by around 420,000 bpd compared to February 2023, when Moscow said it would reduce output by 500,000 bpd.
For months after Russia had said it would cut output, observed crude shipments from the country hadn’t shown a decline. They actually hit recent highs in April and May.
At the end of July and in August, tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg started to show that Russia’s seaborne crude oil exports were declining from the highs seen in April and May.
In the four weeks to July 30, Russian crude oil exports by sea continued to decline and averaged below 3 million bpd, the lowest four-week average since the start of the EU embargo, the data monitored by Bloomberg showed. This was the lowest four-week average of Russian crude shipments since the four weeks to January 8, a month after the EU imposed the crude oil import embargo on December 5.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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