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Russia’s India-bound Urals loadings set for record this month

The percentage of Russian Urals crude exported to India in December is on track for a record, even as weaker Asian demand and a European Union oil embargo has lowered overall volumes, according to traders, Refinitiv data and Reuters calculations.

As of Dec. 26, Urals loadings to Asia were 3.5 million tonnes, including 2.4 million tonnes for India, or 40% of the month’s overall loadings of the grade from Russia’s ports.

The final home for up to 2.5 million tonnes of Urals loaded in December remains unknown, but Indian oil plants are thought to be the main destination, traders say.

This means that the share of Russia’s India-bound Urals exports in December is expected to set a new record, they added, exceeding the previous record in November of 53% of total shipments.

In 2022, India has become the main outlet for seaborne cargoes of Urals crude, which means Russia’s export flows are increasingly at the mercy of the plans of its dominant buyer.

One trader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said India alone was “not enough to replace demand in Europe”.

Exports of Russia’s flagship Urals blend from Baltic Sea ports may fall by up to a fifth in December, after a Western price cap and an EU embargo on Russian oil took effect, according to traders and Reuters calculations.

Shipments of Russian Urals oil to EU countries by sea are expected to fall to some 10% of the total in December, down from a quarter of the total in November, Refinitiv data showed.

After the EU embargo on Russian crude took effect on Dec. 5, Bulgaria is the only EU country allowed to buy cargoes of Russian crude.

Bulgara will import some 0.64 million tonnes of Russia’s Urals and Siberian Light grades – 100% of Russia’s total seaborne oil exports to EU, traders said.
Source: Reuters (Editing by Barbara Lewis)

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