Russia is accelerating its exports of diesel to Saudi Arabia by both direct shipments and ship-to-ship transfers, international news agencies have reported.
Reuters reported last Friday, quoting trade sources and shipping data from Refinitiv, that using STS loadings, Russia is shortening the routes for tankers headed to Africa and Asia after Moscow is now banned from exporting fuels to the EU.
Two cargoes of diesel loaded in the Primorsk port on the Baltic Sea in Russia have been transferred on another tanker heading to Saudi Arabia’s port of Ras Tanura, per shipping data from Refinitiv.
The data also showed that another cargo loaded from the Black Sea port of Tuapse used ship-to-ship loading to another tanker that had already discharged the fuel at the Jizan port in Saudi Arabia.
Both STS loadings took place near the Greek port of Kalamata, according to Refinitiv’s data. Russia started exporting diesel to Saudi Arabia—its ally in the OPEC+ group—in February, after Moscow’s key fuel export outlet, the EU, enacted an embargo on seaborne imports of Russian oil products on February 5.
According to traders who spoke to Reuters, the Saudis could export part of the Russian diesel to other countries after some refining.
Ahead of the EU ban on Russian petroleum products, Russia began to divert its oil product cargoes to North Africa and Asia, while Europe ramps 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.
According to JP Morgan, Russian fuel exports could slip by 300,000 bpd as a result of the EU embargo, but the bank added that Russia could maintain its production of crude oil at pre-war levels. But it would be harder for Russia to return to pre-pandemic levels of crude production, JP Morgan added.
By Ken Okoye