Russian crude could move to these 7 countries after the EU ban takes effect

  • About 1 million barrels of Russian crude could be redirected by 2023 with the entry into force of new European sanctions.
  • Energy research firm Kpler has broken down the potential destinations to which Russian oil could pivot as Moscow seeks new markets.
  • These nations include Indonesia, Pakistan, and Brazil, among others.

Once Europe’s partial ban on Russian oil takes effect in December, the direction of these crude flows could change dramatically as Moscow seeks new buyers for its excess barrels.

In a Friday note from Kpler’s Viktor Katona, the research firm highlighted seven different countries other than China and India that could see an increase in Russian oil deliveries in 2023.

Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has recognized the potential to buy Russian oil, and Kpler sees the country as an excellent prospect for increased imports from Russia.

“Like India, Jakarta sees discounted barrels as a way to dampen inflation – after the government raised fuel prices by 30% in early September (the $34 billion subsidy scheme of the country becoming unsustainable), inflation concerns have come to the fore again,” according to the note.

The last time an Indonesian refiner bought a shipment of Russian crude was in December 2016. According to Kpler, Indonesia could see a potential inflow of 100,000 to 150,000 barrels of Russian crude per day.

Pakistan

Pakistan, too, has publicly weighed the purchase of Russian crude, Kpler said, as the government in Islamabad reportedly asked refiners in the country to consider buying supplies at a discount from Russia as Crude prices were skyrocketing.

Still, there are some caveats.

“Given that Pakistan effectively buys crude from two Middle Eastern producers – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – it remains to be seen whether domestic refiners would risk upsetting their relationship,” Kpler said.

Pakistan could see a jump of around 50,000 to 100,000 additional barrels per day from Russia.

Brazil

Kpler predicts Brazil’s October elections will rejuvenate its international ties with the so-called BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Brazil has increased its consumption of domestic production throughout 2022 and flows to domestic markets are at their highest level since 2019. At the same time, its exports have fallen slightly.

“Since the Urals are very similar in quality to the Brazilian Tupi or Buzios (same density, higher sulfur content), refining a discounted crude could free up a substantial portion of Brazilian production for maximize profits,” Kpler’s Katona wrote.

Brazil could have seen an increase of around 100,000 to 200,000 barrels per day from Russia, according to Kpler.

South Africa

Historically, South Africa has had only one delivery of Russian crude, which arrived earlier this summer, according to Kpler. But its status as one of Russia’s BRICS peers means it stands as a likely candidate for higher volumes.

Moreover, the national refinery Natref, Kpler noted, is less likely to self-sanction doing business with Moscow compared to Sapref, owned by BP and Shell.

There could be a potential impact of 50,000 to 100,000 barrels per day from Russian ports to South Africa.

Sri Lanka

Since August, Kpler reports that Sri Lanka has already started buying one shipment per month of Russian crude, and the research firm expects this pace to continue.

As it grapples with massive debt and political turmoil, Sri Lanka’s oil imports are expected to remain depressed, but that could open it up to an uptick in crude deliveries from Russia.

Kpler said the country could see a marginal increase of around 20,000 to 30,000 Russian barrels per day.

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

It’s unclear whether any Middle Eastern countries will become buyers of Russian crude, but Kpler noted that refineries in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in particular will be operating at full capacity once new European sanctions kick in.

“Given that these refineries will effectively reduce exportable volumes, all in a time of high crude prices, the temptation might be to supply refineries in the Urals and let products like Arab Light flow freely in Asia,” wrote Kpler.

The potential impact for these Middle Eastern countries is both highest and lowest, with a range of zero to 500,000 barrels per day from Russia.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.