Oil Industry Adapts to G7 Price Cap

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It is early days but signs are emerging that the oil industry is learning to adapt to the G7 price cap on Russian crude just as a second cap on Russian oil products came into effect on Feb. 5. The G7 rationale behind the cap was to target Russian oil revenues while keeping the oil flowing to prevent global oil price spikes, but it is still hard to judge how effective the mechanism will be. So far, EU and UK-based tankers have mainly avoided transporting Russian barrels, with one estimate that only around one in 10 Russian crude fixtures is now being lifted by a tanker under G7 rules. Meanwhile, Moscow has said it will not cooperate with the price cap and Russian law prohibits sales of Russian crude and products to foreign companies that comply with the G7 caps. Instead, a large “shadow fleet” — estimated at some 650 tankers — has emerged to transport both Russian crude and products, with India and China the principal buyers. Shipping and trading sources have confirmed more than a dozen European-owned tankers loaded Russian crude oil in January on which the $60 per barrel price cap would have been applied. The dozen-plus tankers identified in January loaded cargoes at various Russian ports for different destinations, including India, China, Turkey and Bulgaria, data from BRS Shipbrokers show. Most of the oil was Russian Urals — excluding Kebco crude from Kazakhstan that is sold as Urals but not subject to any restrictions. There was also at least one shipment of East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (Espo) blend shipped from the Kozmino terminal in Russia’s Far East. Some of the vessels are managed by Greek firms such as Kyklades Maritime, TMS Tankers, Dynacom and Avin International, with some smaller Western operators also featuring.

Crude Oil, Oil Products, Sanctions, Ukraine Crisis, Oil Tankers
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