Weekly snapshot: Russian fossil fuel exports 12 to 18 December 2022

The week of 12 to 18 December 2022, the largest importers of Russian fossil fuels were the EU, China, India, Turkey and South Korea. The EU remained the largest importer, due to continued shipments of oil products and LNG, as well as pipeline flows of crude oil and gas, showing that the Union still has a ways to go to fully extricate itself of dependency on Russia. Oil product imports will be banned in February, and Germany, the largest importer of crude oil through pipeline, is aiming to stop those imports at the end of the month.

China’s and India’s imports were mostly crude oil. Turkey and South Korea imported a mix of Russian fossil fuels with pipeline gas dominating for Turkey and coal for South Korea.

Three of the top five ports importing Russian fossil fuels were in Asia and two in Europe, with crude oil dominating as the imported commodity.

The top five EU importer countries last week were the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Poland.

Crude oil shipments to Europe have collapsed since the introduction of the ban on Russian seaborne crude oil. Departures of crude oil shipments fell steeply in the first half of December, by 37%, compared with the previous month. This reduction in volumes should put additional pressure on the prices for Russian crude oil.

Shipments of oil products and chemicals to the EU have decreased, as have the shipments to South Korea, Turkey and the UAE. The share of tankers covered by the price cap in crude oil shipments out of Russia remained stable at around 70%, illustrating Russia has so far not found alternatives to vessels owned and/or insured in the countries that take part in the price cap. This illustrates the leverage the price cap coalition has to further ratchet down the price cap.

There are small increases in oil-on-water for both crude oil and oil products. The glut of LNG cargoes continues as there is less demand from the EU.

Urals crude prices have seen a small increase but still remain below the price cap level of USD 60.

The weekly update of Russian fossil fuel exports was prepared by Meri Pukarinen, Europe-Russia Policy Officer, CREA; and Jan Lietava, Data Scientist/Engineer, CREA.