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Russia’s Seaborne Crude Oil Exports Hit 11-Month High

Russia exported the highest level of oil from its ports in 11 months in the week to April 14, as export terminals likely shipped more crude that couldn’t be processed at refineries knocked offline by Ukrainian drone attacks, tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg showed on Tuesday. 

In the second week of April, Russia’s crude oil shipments jumped by as much as 560,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 3.95 million bpd—the highest level since May last year, according to the data reported by Bloomberg’s Julian Lee.   

The four-week average shipments, which tend to be less volatile and give a clearer picture of monthly exports, were also significantly up in the four weeks to April 14, compared to the previous four weeks. These shipments were estimated by Bloomberg to have surged by 250,000 bpd to 3.66 million bpd. That’s also the highest average in nearly a year, since June 2023.

The shipments so far in April have been far above Russia’s own target of oil exports as part of the OPEC+ deal, Bloomberg’s data found.

At the end of March, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Russia would be cutting oil production instead of exports in the second quarter of 2024 so that all OPEC+ producers that reduce output contribute equally to the cuts.

Russia has brought back online some oil refining units in recent weeks, reducing the capacity taken offline by Ukrainian drone hits to around 10%, from 14% at the end of March, calculations by Reuters showed on Monday.

Output cuts will be most of the extra Russian supply cut, and they could be the result of reduced refining capacity with maintenance coming in Q2 and refinery rates estimated to have slumped due to Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian refineries. These attacks are estimated to have cut Russia’s crude processing capacity and, in the absence of spare storage capacity, Moscow needs to cut output.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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