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Trade Patterns Mixing Up Russian Crude Oil Exports

Russian crude oil exports could exhibit yet more trade shifting patterns in the months to come, as a result of the Coronavirus effect. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “in the 12 months of 2019, Russia exported 225.3 mln tonnes of crude oil by sea, according to vessel tracking data from Refinitiv. This represents an increase of +6.2% y-o-y, compared to the 212.1 mln tonnes of 2018. There continues to be a reshuffling in the trade patterns. Seaborne exports from Russia to the European Union declined by -3.2% y-o-y to 133.9 mln tonnes in 2019, from 138.3 mln t in 2018. The EU is still by far the largest destination for Russian crude, but now accounts for 59% of total Russia seaborne crude exports, down from 65% in 2018. On the other hand, crude exports from Russia to China surged by +14.6% in 2019 to 29.8 mln tonnes.

Source: Banchero Costa

According to Banchero Costa, “China is the destination for 13% of Russia’s total seaborne crude exports, up from 12% in 2018. South Korea have also seen a decline in volumes from Russia last year. It imported 17.5 mln tonnes in 2019, which was -8.9% y-o-y compared to 19.2 mln tonnes in 2018, although it was still higher than the 13.5 mln tonnesin 2017. South Korea now accounts for 8% of Russia seaborne exports. Volumes to Japan have been essentially flat at 7.0 mln tonnes, up +0.4% y-o-y. Surprisingly, exports to the USA increased, to 7.4 mln tonnes in 2019, up +45.1% y-o-y. Volumes to India surged, by +146.4% y-o-y in 2019 to 6.9 mln tonnes, from just 2.8 mln t in 2018. Shipments with discharge in Turkey also surged by 329% in 2019 to 14.6 mln tonnes from just 3.4 mln tonnesin 2018. Of Russia’s total 2019 exports, 91.1 mln tonnes, or 40.4%, was shipped from the Black Sea – almost entirely from Novorossiysk. Shipments from the Black Sea increased by +5.0% y-o-y in 2019”.

“The majority of the shipments from Novorossiysk, 53.0 mln t, were sent to Europe, whilst 10.4 mln t were sent to East Asia. Another 73.0 mln t, or 32.4% of the total, were loaded in the Baltic Sea. Shipments from the Baltic Sea increased by +8.3% y-o-y in 2019. The main terminals in the Baltic are Primorsk (45.6 mln tonnes in 2019), and Ust-Luga (27.0 mln tonnes). The vast majority of shipments from the Baltic were for European destinations (66.9 mln tonnes), whilst only 1.2 mln tonnes were shipped to East Asia. 45.9 mln tonnes, or 20.1% of the total, were shipped from Russia’s Far East ports”, Banchero Costa said.

Source: Banchero Costa

The shipbroker added that “shipments from the Russia’s East increased by +7.7% y-o-y in 2019. The main terminals in Russia’s Far East are Kuzmino (30.4 mln t), De Kastri (11.3 mln t), and Prigorodnoye (4.0 mln t). From Russia’s East, the majority of cargoes went to China (25.2 mln t), to Korea (11.4 mln t), and to Japan (6.2 mln t). Finally, 6.8% of exports, 15.4 mln t, were loaded in the Arctic. The main terminals in Russia’s Arctic are Murmansk (7.9 mln t), and the Umba FSO (7.1 mln t). Volumes from Russia’s Arctic ports increased by +0.3% y-o-y in 2019. The first two months of 2020 have been peculiar, no doubt driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Total seaborne exports from Russia in Jan-Feb 2020 were up +1.7% yo-y, but with a +17.3% increase from the Baltic, a -1.8% decline yo-y from the Black Sea, a -8.6% decline from the Arctic, and a -10.8% decline from the East. As the pandemic seems contained in China and Korea, but blowing up in Europe, we could see these trends reversing in coming months”, Banchero Costa concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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