Bloomberg: Russia has created a “secret” fleet of oil tankers to evade sanctions

Bloomberg reported that Russia has created an invisible fleet of tankers to evade sanctions.

Last March, the United States announced a total ban on Russian oil and gas imports, while the European Union said it aims to completely stop relying on Russian energy sources by 2030.

Sanctions imposed on Moscow have prompted oil traders to find new ways to export Russian oil, smuggling shipments from ship to ship.

According to the agency, data on maritime oil shipments from Russia in September surpasses the data for February, which could be due to the “shadow fleet” of oil tankers.

According to the International Energy Agency, Russia is the third largest oil producer in the world after the United States and Saudi Arabia and the second largest exporter of crude oil after Saudi Arabia.

The agency revealed that Russia has resorted to transporting oil from ship to ship to maintain its exports.

European sanctions on Moscow included a ban on the import of exported Russian oil in Europe via sea, which excludes oil transported in Europe through oil pipelines due to the dependence on it of countries such as Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Read more: Washington punishes 5 Russians and 2 oil traders for evading sanctions and money laundering

The world’s most powerful traders, oil tankers and governments are increasingly focused on one question in the oil market: Can the oil industry supply chain handle the toughest sanctions in history on Russian exports?

A huge fleet of oil tankers with unknown owners is mobilized to serve the interests of Moscow.

With about six weeks of entry in force of the measures, there is little clarity as to whether these steps will really be enough to help the world’s third largest oil producer deliver much of its production to buyers to avoid supply shock.

It seems certain that a significant portion of Russian flows will be managed through a complex – and often clandestine – network of ships, shipowners, ports and safe lanes dominated by entities still willing to engage with Russia.

Read more: 15 European countries support fixing a ceiling on the price of Russian oil. Germany is opposed

“If you look at the number of ships that have been sold over the past six months to unnamed buyers, it becomes very clear that a fleet has been created to transport them,” said Christian Ingerslev, CEO of Maersk Tankers.

Ahead of December 5, when the European Union bans imports of Russian crude oil and stops providing shipments, financing and insurance coverage for related trades, the most important question is whether there will be enough ships.

According to the maritime intermediary “Primar”, the Russian side has already bought 240 small and large ships to support oil exports. in Asia.

Braemar said that to support four million barrels per day of Russian exports to the Far East, many of the newly operated ships need to be added to the 240, which transported Iranian and Venezuelan crude last year to form a huge shadow fleet. in support of Moscow.

On 6 October, the European Union approved the eighth package of sanctions against Russia.

Sanctions include, in in particular, a cap on the maritime transport of Russian oil to third countries and further restrictions on the maritime transport of crude oil and petroleum products to third countries.

Meanwhile, the head of the Russian Economic Development Ministry, Maxim Reshetnikov, at a meeting of the State Duma’s Budget and Tax Commission, said that Russia will maintain its role as a strategic supplier of energy resources even with the introduction of new sanctions.

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