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Russian Oil Tankers. REUTERS/Tatiana Meel/File Photo

A view shows tankers in Nakhodka Bay near the crude oil terminal Kozmino outside the port city of Nakhodka, Russia June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Tatiana Meel

Russia Loads Up Tankers Ahead Of December EU Oil Embargo

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October 28, 2022

by Kirsten Donovan (Reuters) Russia ramped up seaborne Urals oil exports to Asia to 50% of the total over the Oct. 1-20 period ahead of a December EU embargo on the state’s oil and products, according to traders and Refinitiv Eikon data.

EU countries which have been primary consumers of Russian crude oil for decades will stop buying it from Dec. 5 due to the embargo imposed by the bloc.

Bulgaria is the only state allowed to continue seaborne imports beyond the date, while Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will continue buying via pipeline.

Russian Urals oil shipments to Asia rose to 2.08 million tonnes during Oct. 1-20, up 8% compared to the same period last month, according to Refinitiv Eikon data and traders.

Urals loadings to India over the period are set at 1.38 million tonnes, down from 1.72 million tonnes in the same period of September, supplies to China rose to 0.3 million tonnes from just 0.1 million tonnes, while the final destination of 0.3 million tonnes of the grade shipping to Asia was still unclear.

At the same time Russia reduced seaborne Urals supplies to EU countries by 22% to 1.1 million tonnes, Reuters calculations showed.

Overall oil exports and transit from Russia’s Western ports of Primorsk, Ust-Luga and Novorossiysk over the period rose by 1% from the same period last month to 5.38 million tonnes.

Still, demand for discounted Russian barrels in EU countries in October remained high, according to trade sources.

“October volumes clear smoothly both in Europe and beyond, but Russia’s exports in November and by the end of the year raise serious concerns,” a source with a Western major said.

Oil shipments to countries in Europe that did not join the sanctions or have received exemptions rose by 6% over Oct. 1-20. Deliveries to Bulgaria rose to 0.48 million tonnes from 0.4 million tonnes and to Turkey, to 0.94 million tonnes from 0.88 million.

India and Turkey retained their leading positions as buyers of Urals over the nearly three-week period, while the growing presence of Russian companies in the freight market helped the supplies, traders said.

(by Kirsten Donovan, Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Reuters)

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