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Russia’s western oil exports set to decline in Dec amid ample refining plans – traders

Russia’s oil shipments from its western ports may fall in December amid record refinery runs planned for next month and a recent lifting of the state’s fuel export ban, three traders said.

Russia’s offline primary oil refining capacity is set to fall to just 700,000 metric tons in December from 2.4 million tons in November, to the lowest level this year, according to Reuters calculations based on LSEG data and industry sources.

A decline in offline refining capacity means an increase in oil supplies to refineries, which reduces the volume of crude oil available for exports.

Exports of Urals, KEBCO and Siberian Light oil grades from Novorossiysk, Primorsk and Ust-Luga will amount to 8.42 million metric tons in November compared with 9.9 million tons in October, Reuters sources said previously. Actual shipments may be even lower due to loading suspensions in ports amid storms.

An increase in primary refining during the winter season usually leads to an increase in fuel exports. In December oil product exports may also rise amid a recent easing of Russia’s export ban, which had been in effect since September.

Last week the Russian government announced the lifting of the ban on the export of gasoline. Previously, diesel exports via pipeline had been allowed.

However, a rise in refined products exports in December may be complicated by a possible shortage of ships amid the latest U.S. sanctions.

In October, Washington imposed its first sanctions against tanker owners in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates carrying Russian oil at prices above the $60 per barrel price ceiling. Last week, the U.S. also imposed sanctions on three more firms and three tankers.

“Though there is still no shortage of tankers for crude oil the oil products market has already felt problems with the availability of vessels for some dates,” said a trader on the Russian oil products market.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Reuters; editing by onathan Oatis)

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