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Russia Suspends Operations at Fuel Export Terminal Following Drone Attack

Russia’s Novatek has suspended operations at a Baltic Sea fuel export terminal following a reported drone attack by Ukrainian forces.

The reported attack caused a fire at the Ust-Luga terminal, Reuters wrote, adding it was yet unclear how long the suspension of operations at the site would last.

Ust-Luga is one of the key export hubs for Russian crude oil and fuels.

Russia’s Vedomosti daily cited an official from the regional authorities as saying there had been two explosions at the site of the export terminal that had caused a fire at one fuel storage tank.

TASS cited Novatek as confirming that the fire was the result of external actions.

"The technological process at Novatek-Ust-Luga has been stopped, and an operational headquarters has been established to eliminate the consequences. Damage assessment will be carried out later," Novatek said, as quoted by Reuters.

Reuters also cited Ukrainian new agency Interfax-Ukraine as confirming a Ukrainian attack, with unnamed sources telling the outlet that the Ust-Luga terminal was key for the supply of Russian troops with fuel.

This is the latest in what increasingly looks like a series of Ukrainian attacks on Russian infrastructure that will likely prompt quick retaliation.

It remains unclear for how long the Ust-Luga terminal will be out of commission and what the effect of the suspension would be on Russian oil and fuel exports. These jumped by 500,000 barrels per day to 7.8 million bpd in the last month of 2023, compared to November, the IEA said in its Oil Market Report for January.

This was the highest export level in nine months, with crude oil shipments jumping by 240,000 bpd from November to 5 million bpd, and oil product exports increasing by 260,000 bpd month-on-month. Revenues, however, fell to the lowest in six months due to a wider discount with benchmarks, the IEA noted in its report.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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