Russian oil tracker

10 July 2023


• Russian seaborne oil export volumes appeared to be resilient to sanctions since the invasion as in April 2023 exports of crude oil and oil products by sea exceeded the pre-invasion level. Despite all its efforts to boost its shadow fleet, Russian still heavily relies on Western maritime services as around half of crude oil and two-thirds of oil products were shipped by tankers with P&I Club insurance in April 2023. The P&I Club insurance coverage varies by ports of shipment. 62% of crude oil exports from Black Sea ports were shipped by tankers with P&I Club insurance while only 27% of crude oil shipments from Pacific Ocean ports had P&I Club insurance in April 2023.

• The KSE Institute estimates Russian shadow fleet at 143 tankers in April 2023. The 105 of these tankers were built more than 15 years ago. Operation of Russian shadow fleet poses huge environmental risks for the EU as decrepit tankers older than 15 years without P&I insurance navigate several European countries coastlines including Danish Straits. These shippers do not have capital to cover the clean-up costs in case of oil leaks near the EU coastline. In April 2023, the shadow fleet was responsible for exports of around 2 mb/d of crude oil and 0.8 mb/d of oil products.

• India and Turkey became the biggest buyer of Russian seaborne crude and oil products respectively after the coalition of advanced democracies refused to purchase Russian oil.

• Steep price discounts for both Russian crude and oil products continue supporting the strong demand for Russian oil exports. In May 2023, Urals decreased to around $50/bbl and remained eligible for shipping with P&I insurance. In December 2022-May 2023 ESPO and in December 2022-April 2023 Arctic grades were shipped with Western maritime services at prices much above the price cap indicating weak policy enforcement. Both premium and discounted oil product prices remained below the price caps in May.

• Russian oil export revenues decreased by $1.4 bn to $13.3 bn in May due to both lower volumes and declined world crude prices. According to the KSE Institute estimates, in the base case with current oil price caps and status quo of sanctions but their stronger enforcement, revenues will contract to $132 bn and $105 bn in 2023 and 2024 respectively compared to $218 bn in 2022. If the price cap is lowered to US$ 50/bbl discount to forecast Brent prices, revenues fall to just $104 bn and $51 bn in 2023 and 2024. However, in case of weak sanctions enforcement, Russian oil revenues could approach a robust $164 bn and $169 bn in 2023 and 2024 respectively.