Weekly snapshot: Russian fossil fuel exports 5 to 11 December 2022

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) has released its weekly update on fossil fuel exports from Russia.

The week of 5 December to 11 December 2022 saw the ban on seaborne oil imports from Russia to the EU resulting in a dramatic drop in overall crude oil shipments from Russian ports. The import ban and the price cap successfully drove down the price of Russian crude oil.

Shipments of oil products, which are still allowed into the EU until February 5, 2023, saw an uptick that offset a small part of the drop in crude oil.

As the EU stopped buying Russian crude oil, shipments to China and shipments of unsold cargoes “for orders” saw modest upticks. The increase in shipments reporting their destination as “Egypt” represents both tankers heading to Egyptian ports and to the Suez canal and further to the Middle East and the Pacific.

The share of tankers covered by the price cap in crude oil shipments out of Russia remained rather stable or even increased slightly, 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’s little sign of increases in oil‑on‑water, as the impact of the EU import ban was initially absorbed by a drop in outbound shipments. The glut of LNG cargoes continues as there is less demand from the EU.

Urals crude prices have continued to drop since the introduction of the price cap, illustrating it is working as intended, diminishing Russia’s revenues to fund the war in Ukraine.

Shipments in the last week

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.