The rotation of a giant tanker reveals pressure in the Russian oil market

Much of this demand is expected to come from Asia. India’s purchases of Russian oil, in particular, have jumped more than 700 percent in the five weeks since the start of the war in Ukraine compared to the previous five, according to data from the Russian Tanker Group.

With increased shipments to Asia, Europe has shown a willingness to reduce its purchases of Russian crude, Reid Lanson, Kpler’s chief commodity economist, said in an email.

He said tracking oil tankers drifting at sea is important to begin discovering the new picture of Russian oil exports. Although the presence of some carriers with unknown destinations is not necessarily normal, he said, “given the situation in Russia, tracking these flows will be critical.” “I would be very interested to see how much Asia fills the gap left by European purchases,” he added.

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Part of the West’s shift away from Russian oil followed growing public pressure.

When the Minerva Virgo, a Croatian-flagged tanker carrying 50,000 tons of Russian petrochemicals, docked in New York last week, the environmental organization Greenpeace staged a protest in the port, with activists in inflatable boats carrying banners reading “Fuel Fuel War.” “

(Several days later, a smaller tanker carrying Russian chemicals also made its way to New York, the Vinjerac, changed its destination to “drift” a short distance from shore and did not dock.)

In the UK, dock workers at Birkenhead Docks in northwest England earlier this month refused to offload a German-flagged tanker. Under no circumstances will workers unload any Russian oil, local union leader He told Sky News. The UK has banned Russian tankers from entering British ports, but the order does not apply to ships from other countries carrying Russian oil.

In response to the invasion, the oil majors said they were moving away from their investments in Russia. Companies such as BP, Shell, TotalEnergies and Exxon Mobil have said they will not sign new oil contracts with Russia.

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