A record amount of Russian oil is on board tankers, with unprecedented amounts flowing to India and China as other nations restrict imports due to the war in Ukraine.
According to Kpler, between 74 and 79 million barrels of the OPEC+ producer were in transit and floating in storage last week, more than double the 27 million barrels just before Ukraine was invaded in February.
Asia overtook Europe as the biggest buyer for the first time last month, and that gap is set to widen in May, according to the data and analytics firm.
The sharp rise in Russian oil by sea underscores how global energy trade has been roiled by the invasion, with US, British and many EU companies dumping their cargoes and forcing Moscow to seek buyers in Asia.
China and India have siphoned millions of barrels out of the country to take advantage of hefty rebates on flows.
“Some of the interested buyers in Asia are more economically motivated than taking a political stance,” said Jane Xie, senior oil analyst at Kpler in Singapore.
“That said, US interest in India’s purchase of Russian oil has increased, so there may be some downside risks to this trade flow, although it is currently unlikely to be significantly affected.”
According to Xie, combined Russian oil flows for Asia’s top two buyers, India and China, rose to records in April, boosted mainly by increased buying from India. While shipments are likely to be slightly lower this month, they’re still only beaten by last month’s record, she said.
Crude oil volumes at sea will increase by 45 million to 60 million barrels on the back of Russia’s increasing sea trade with Asia if the European Union can agree to halt all imports from the country by the end of this year, industry adviser FGE said in a this week Note.
Ships are forced on longer voyages when transporting crude oil – like the flagship Ural – from Russia’s western ports to Asia rather than Europe, with a one-way trip to China typically taking around two months.
On May 26, about 57 million barrels of Urals and 7.3 million barrels of Russian Far East ESPO crude were observed on the water, according to Kpler data, compared to 19 million Urals and 5.7 million ESPO at the end of February.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/more-russian-oil-than-ever-before-is-heading-for-china-india-41694660.html More Russian oil than ever goes to China, India