Saudi Arabia is making money from diesel trading after the EU embargo on Russian fuels, as the world’s top crude exporter is now importing record volumes of cheap diesel from Russia and exporting record levels of its own diesel to the higher-priced Asian market in the Singapore hub, trading and ship-tracking sources have told Reuters.
Earlier this year, Russia started exporting diesel to Saudi Arabia—its ally in the OPEC+ group—after Moscow’s key fuel export outlet, the EU, enacted an embargo on seaborne imports of Russian oil products on February 5.
In the following weeks, Russia accelerated its exports of diesel to Saudi Arabia by both direct shipments and ship-to-ship (STS) transfers near the Greek port of Kalamata.
Ahead of the EU ban on Russian petroleum products, Russia began to divert its oil product cargoes to North Africa and Asia, while Europe ramped up imports of diesel from the Middle East and Asia to offset the loss of Russian barrels, of which it imported around 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) before the February 5 embargo took effect.
In May, Saudi Arabia is expected to import up to 3.7 million barrels of diesel from Russia, an all-time high, Reuters reported, citing trading sources and data from Refinitiv and Kpler.
Refinitiv data, as well as industry sources and Vortexa, estimate that this month the Saudis will have also exported a record 400,000 tons of diesel to Singapore.
Saudi Arabia is snapping up Russian diesel at knockdown prices and sending its own diesel to Europe, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Since February, the Kingdom has become the top supplier of diesel and gasoil to Europe, replacing Russia, per Bloomberg’s estimates.
According to Kpler data, cited by Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia was the world’s second-largest exporter of gasoil and diesel in April. Of the total record Saudi exports of diesel last month, around 35% ended up in the EU and the UK.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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