Russian Seaborne Exports to Rise in May

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Seaborne exports of Russian crude oil are poised to rise by 210,000 barrels per day in May to 1.9 million b/d, compared with April, according to port loading programs issued by national oil pipeline operator Transneft. Combined with transit volumes from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, total seaborne exports from Russian ports have been penciled in at 2.238 million b/d for May, up by more than 200,000 b/d versus April. Under the latest Opec-plus agreement, Russia's oil output is set to grow by about 38,000 b/d per month in May-July. It was previously allowed to raise its output in February-April when output for most members did not go up (IOD Apr.22'21). Russia had argued that it needed to increase production during the early part of this year to avoid shortages of motor fuels in its domestic market after inventories of refined products fell to low levels in January. But oil companies managed to boost stocks of refined products ahead of the government's May 1 deadline, which freed additional volumes up for exports. Another reason for the month-on-month increase in crude oil exports in May is the usual seasonal refinery maintenance period in Russia. Market players even expect actual export volumes to exceed the levels indicated in the loading schedules, as was the case in March and April, when producers decided to ship more crude abroad. Market players say that oil companies became more flexible about allocating their volumes between the domestic and export markets over the past year because of fluctuations in demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the increase in May exports should come from the Baltic Sea ports of Primorsk and Ust-Luga, where combined loadings have been penciled in at 1.157 million b/d, up by 205,000 b/d on the April loading plans. Russia had penciled in a decline in its combined seaborne and pipeline exports of crude oil during the second quarter of this year, but that forecast predated the most recent increase in Opec-plus production (IOD Mar.18'21). Seaborne exports have since risen in April and are now poised to rise again in May. Nadezhda Sladkova, Moscow Russian Ports Crude Oil Loading Schedules, May 2021 May'21 Apr'21 Chg. May'20 Ann. Chg. ('000 tons or b/d) (tons) (b/d) (tons) (b/d) (b/d) (tons) (b/d) (b/d) Primorsk 3,100 732 2,400 586 146.4 2,300 543 188.9 Ust-Luga* 1,800 425 1,500 366 59.0 2,000 472 -47.2 Baltic Sea Total 4,900 1,157 3,900 952 205.4 4,300 1,015 141.7 Novorossiysk* 1,837 434 1,625 397 37.3 1,220 288 145.7 Kozmino 2,740 647 2,820 688 -41.1 3,200 756 -108.6 Grand Total* 9,477 2,238 8,345 2,036 201.6 8,720 2,059 178.7 Russian Total† 8,040 1,898 6,920 1,688 210.0 7,069 1,669 229.3 *Includes oil produced in other FSU countries but shipped from Russian ports.

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