Weekly snapshot ‑ Russian fossil fuels 20 to 26 March 2023

The week of 20 to 26 March 2023, the EU continued at the fourth place as an importer of Russian fossil fuels, with China, India and Turkey making up the top 3 and Saudi Arabia in fifth place. 

The amount of Russian oil products aboard tankers (products-on-water) and the amount of unsold oil loaded on tankers (cargoes “for orders”) have been building up steadily, putting pressure on prices for Russian oil. Reported prices for Urals crude dropped sharply. This illustrates Russia is struggling to find buyers and the EU sanctions are biting.

China’s imports consisted of crude oil, coal, LNG and pipeline gas. India imported crude oil and coal. Turkey imported oil products&chemicals, pipeline gas, crude oil and coal. EU imported pipeline gas and oil, oil products&chemicals and LNG. Saudi Arabia imported crude oil.

Two of the top five ports importing Russian fossil fuels were in India, two in China and one in the UAE. Crude oil dominated as the imported commodity.

The top EU importer countries last week were Slovakia, Czech Republic, Spain, Hungary and Austria.

Russia’s revenues from crude oil shipments fell last week after climbing in March. The revenues from oil products&chemicals rose.
The share of tankers covered by the price cap in crude oil shipments out of Russia was rather stable at close to 60%. For oil products&chemicals, the coverage of the price cap coalition was above 70%. The shares of ownership and insurance of vessels carrying Russian crude and oil products&chemicals within the price cap coalition are much higher for shipments departing from Russia’s Arctic, Baltic and Black sea ports, but much lower for shipments departing from Pacific ports.

Urals crude prices have dropped to less than USD 50 per barrel, well below the price cap level of USD 60. The East Siberia–Pacific Ocean (ESPO) price, mainly applying to Chinese purchases, has recovered to around USD 65.

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.

Note on methodology:
Dates featured are the date the arrival of the shipment was captured by our algorithm. 80% of arrivals for shipments are found within four days of the arrival port call in the specific port. For our oil products and chemicals commodity group, please note this contains a wider range of items than just those specified in the current sanctions, as of 2022‑02‑05. More information at: