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Asia gets most of Russian dark fuels after EU embargo

Friday, 26 May 2023 | 13:00

Asian countries remain the lead destinations for Russian vacuum gasoil (VGO) and fuel oil exports after the European Union’s embargo, traders said and Refinitiv data showed.

“Pretty stable flows for refining and bunkering”, one trader said.

According to Refinitiv data, China and India, which became main importers of embargoed Russian oil, were respectively accounting for about 2.6 million tonnes and 2.1 million tonnes of exports of dirty oil products from Russian ports since the start of the year, buying fuel oil and VGO for further processing at their refineries.

Singapore and Malaysia also hit the top five destinations for fuel oil and VGO of Russian origin with almost 3.5 million tonnes in total, while Turkey and Saudi Arabia received about 1.6 million tonnes each, Refinitiv data showed.

Fujairah, key transit and blending hub for oil products in the United Arab Emirates, accepted almost 1.4 million tonnes of fuel oil and VGO since the start of this year.

In February 2023, the EU introduced a full ban on supplies of Russian oil products, but Russian fuel oil and VGO had already been diverted elsewhere as restrictions were applied partially in August 2022. Asia and the Middle East and also ship-to-ship (STS) loadings became the most popular ways to bypass sanctions since then.

STS loadings near the Greek port of Kalamata have attracted from Russia the biggest dirty oil products volumes, which surged to 8 million tonnes in 2022 and totalled almost 2.7 million tonnes from the beginning of 2023. Traders said those cargoes mostly end up in Asia.

“(The main destinations were) China, Singapore and some cargoes went to India,” one trader added.

Russia also exports small amounts of dirty oil products to Africa, mostly to Senegal, which has bought about 114,000 tonnes of Russian fuel oil this month, according to Refinitiv.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Peter Graff)

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