Russian crude exports have risen in March, says Petro-Logistics

Credit: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

By Alex Lawler

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - Russian seaborne crude oil exports in March have increased from last month, according to tanker-tracker Petro-Logistics, though there are some cargoes awaiting destinations in the wake of Western sanctions on Moscow.

Seaborne Russian crude exports in March are up 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) from February to average almost 3 million bpd, while oil products shipments are more than 2 million bpd in March, according to Petro-Logistics.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has drawn a lengthening list of Western sanctions and prompted some customers to stop buying its oil, raising concerns over global supplies. IEA/M

Geneva-based Petro-Logistics is known for monitoring production from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) but has also tracked supply from Russia and former Soviet states for decades.

Analysts have warned that the U.S. ban on Russian oil and gas imports is likely to leave more cargoes at sea with no buyers.

Petro-Logistics Chief Executive Daniel Gerber said his firm was seeing cargoes without destinations.

"We have noticed a number of vessels at anchorage and seemingly awaiting orders, and we have seen a couple of cargoes that turned back from heading transatlantic, and they are also awaiting orders," he told Reuters.

Still, more Russian oil appears to be going to China and India.

"We are seeing a little bit more heading to China," Gerber said. "India is importing Urals for the first time since November, with volumes averaging over 250,000 bpd so far in March. Surprisingly, we still see product shipments heading to the United States."

The firm has also spotted some signs of cargoes changing owners - one crude shipment changed its lifter from a western oil major to a Chinese company, he said.

While crude exports are up, Petro-Logistics has seen sharp reductions in exports of some oil products in March.

Russian fuel oil and vacuum gas oil (VGO) exports in March are down 40% from February, the company said, though that is partly down to bad weather in the Black Sea last week. Gasoil and other refined products have not been affected as much, it said.

Petro-Logistics figures quoted relate to Russian oil only, excluding non-Russian crudes such as Kazakh and Azeri.

(Reporting by Alex Lawler Editing by David Goodman)

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