Russian Seaborne Exports Set for Modest Increase

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Russian seaborne crude oil exports are poised to rise modestly in September. Most of the additional barrels produced under the phased Opec-plus output increases are expected to stay at home because of strong domestic demand. However, market players expect seaborne exports in October to show a more substantial increase as a result of planned maintenance at domestic refineries and seasonally strong crude production at that time of year. Crude oil exports from key Russian ports -- excluding transit volumes from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan -- have been penciled in at 1.918 million barrels per day for September, according to preliminary loading programs from pipeline operator Transneft. That's up about 40,000 b/d from the August schedule. Total crude exports from Russian ports -- including transit volumes from former Soviet republics -- are seen rising by 25,000 b/d from August to 2.222 million b/d. Starting in August, Russia was allowed to increase production in monthly increments of 100,000 b/d under the latest agreement with its Opec-plus allies (IOD Jul.19'21). But strong domestic demand and government pressure on oil companies to send more oil to domestic refineries have not left much room for a significant increase in exports so far. October Refinery Maintenance However, market participants told Energy Intelligence that exports may well pick up in October, when some 500,000-600,000 tons of crude is expected to be freed up as a result of maintenance work at Russian refineries. For example, Gazprom Neft pushed back planned maintenance at its Omsk refinery to October in order to ensure sufficient supplies of products to the domestic market. With refining capacity down for planned maintenance and crude production rising, seaborne exports are expected to increase in October. September exports from the Baltic Sea ports of Primorsk and Ust-Luga are set to fall by 35,000 b/d from August to a total of 1.098 million b/d, largely because of work at the port of Primorsk from Sep. 7 to Sep. 14. Shipments from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk should edge up by 13,800 b/d from August to 407,000 b/d in September. China's Strong Appetite for Espo Trading sources say demand for Russia's East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (Espo) crude remains high in China. A recent tender by Surgutneftegas for additional Espo barrels shipped from the Pacific port of Kozmino was concluded quickly, with trader Vitol emerging as the buyer. The October-loading program for Kozmino has been set at 756,000 b/d, compared with 717,000 b/d penciled in for September and 671,000 b/d for August. Market players expect Rosneft to announce results on Aug. 29 for its tender to lift 12.6 million tons (92.4 million barrels) of Urals and CPC crude from Baltic and Black Sea terminals from October 2021 to March 2022. Market players say trader Gunvor seems to be one of the front-runners for the Baltic Sea barrels, while Trafigura could take most of the Black Sea barrels. Nadezhda Sladkova, Moscow Russian Ports Crude Oil Loading Schedules Sep '21 Aug '21 Chg. Sep '20 Ann. Chg. ('000 tons or b/d) (tons) (b/d) (tons) (b/d) (b/d) (tons) (b/d) (b/d) Primorsk 2,600 634 3,100 732 -97.6 2,200 537 97.6 Ust-Luga* 1,900 464 1,700 401 62.2 1,100 268 195.2 Baltic Sea Total 4,500 1,098 4,800 1,133 -35.4 3,300 805 292.8 Novorossiysk* 1,668 407 1,665 393 13.8 1,600 390 16.6 Kozmino 2,940 717 2,840 671 46.8 2,600 634 83.0 Grand Total* 9,108 2,222 9,305 2,197 25.2 7,500 1,830 392.4 Russian Total† 7,860 1,918 7,960 1,880 38.3 6,000 1,464 453.8 *Includes oil produced in other FSU countries but shipped from Russian ports. †Excludes oil produced in other FSU countries but shipped from Russian ports. Conversion rate: 1 ton = 7.32 barrels. Source: Transneft,

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