Sanctions to Test Limits of Tanker Fleet

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ss2130556298-Russia Sanctions

As the market braces for the impacts of both the G7 price cap on Russian petroleum and full implementation of the EU’s ban on seaborne Russian oil imports, yet another challenge looms. Some market players say that disruptions to long-established trade flows of oil and products will stretch current shipping capacity to the breaking point. In short, there may not be enough tanker tonnage available to offset the longer voyages that the price cap and embargoes will dictate, as greater Russian volumes are pushed to markets outside Europe. Capacity will fall short as a function of time. Current exports of Russian crude to the EU are 1.6 million barrels per day, but seaborne imports will cease on Dec. 5. Product imports, now estimated at 574,000 b/d, will be banned effective Feb. 5. Technically, all of this displaced oil can be traded to countries that have no embargo on Russian oil provided cooperation with the price cap. But should every single barrel find a home in Asia, Latin America or Africa, voyage length increases dramatically. The journey from Russia’s western ports to Western Europe, for example, takes roughly a week. To Asia, that journey can be six weeks. One ship broker explained the impacts on volumes: “Let’s say an Aframax [tanker] goes from Russia to Northern Europe, it’s delivering 60,000-65,000 b/d. To Ningbo [China], 7,000 b/d. Mumbai [India], 9,000 b/d. It’s about an eightfold increase in tonnage required to move the same million b/d” when adjusting for these voyage lengths.

Oil Products, Crude Oil, Oil Trade, Oil Tankers
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