Weekly snapshot ‑ Russian fossil fuels 30 January to 5 February 2023

The week of 30 January to 5 February, Russia’s crude oil and oil products exports volumes increased, even as the EU ban on oil products imports entered into force. It seems clear that Russia is not reacting to the price caps by restricting supply, but, to the contrary, could be boosting volumes to counter lower prices.

China overtook the EU as the largest importer of Russian fossil fuels last week. The other importers in the top five were India, Turkey and South Korea.

China’s imports consisted of crude oil, pipeline gas, coal and oil products. The EU imported pipeline oil and gas, oil products and crude oil via rail. The ban on oil products started on Feb 5. India and South Korea imported crude oil and coal, and Turkey a mix of pipeline gas, crude oil and coal.

Three of the the top five ports importing Russian fossil fuels were in India, with crude oil as the imported commodity. One port was in UAE, importing crude oil, and one in South Korea, importing coal.

The top five EU importer countries last week were Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Greece and Czech Republic.

The value of crude oil shipments from Russia rose in the past week. The increases were due to exports to Egypt, for orders, Turkey and unknown destinations— these could be unsold cargoes still looking for buyers or ships that are not declaring their destination. The value of shipments of oil products stayed rather stable.

The share of tankers covered by the price cap in crude oil shipments out of Russia was around 65%. For oil products and chemicals, the coverage of the price cap coalition remains high at over 70%. These high shares illustrate the leverage the price cap coalition has to ratchet down the price cap.

The amount of oil‑on‑water for crude oil was stable, as were oil products on water. The LNG glut has worsened from last week.

Urals crude prices were above USD 50 per barrel, remaining below the price cap level of USD 60. However, the East Siberia–Pacific Ocean (ESPO) price, mainly applying to Chinese purchases, has remained above the price cap even though diving to USD 69 in early Feb.

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.