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Russian gasoline exports jump as Asia, Africa replace Europe

Russia’s gasoline exports rose in January to June despite the introduction of the European Union’s embargo, thanks to healthy supplies of the fuel to Africa and Asia, data from market sources showed and traders said on Tuesday.

Gasoline production at Russian refineries rose by about 4% year-on-year in the first half of 2023 to about 21.6 million metric tons, but fuel exports jumped by 30% to almost 3.5 million tons, according to the sources’ data and Reuters calculations.

That was up from 2.7 million tons exported in January – June 2022.

Russia has boosted supplies of its fuel to destinations other than Europe amid the wider political crisis and after the EU slapped an embargo on imports of Russian oil products on Feb. 5.

The main destination for Russian seaborne gasoline exports last year was the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp trading hub as well as Estonian and Latvian ports. This year, Russia has diverted its fuel mostly to African countries, replacing Northwest European supplies.

Based on Refinitiv data, since the start of 2023, gasoline exports via Russian ports, including a new outlet – the Arctic port of Murmansk, to Africa totalled more than 1 million tons with half of those going to Nigeria.

Before the EU sanctions, Russia had exported gasoline to Africa mostly via Latvian port of Ventspils.

Russia’s gasoline exports via railways to Central Asian countries rose almost twice year-on-year in January-June 2023 to about 0.8 million tons. Fuel supplies to Afghanistan totalled more than 250,000 tons after almost nothing last year.

Mongolia also remains one of the biggest importers of Russian-origin gasoline with almost the same level in the first half of this year compared with the same period of 2022 – about 330,000 tons, based on data from the market sources.

Russia kept cranking up fuel exports thanks to more lucrative overseas sales as retail prices on domestic oil products market are regulated by the state.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Reuters; editing by Vladimir Soldatkin and Jane Merriman)

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