Russian exports of crude oil have soared despite efforts to ban energy purchases from the country by the US and its allies, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from TankerTrackers.com.
Shipments of crude from Russian ports have surged to about 1.6 million barrels per day over the course of April compared to 1.3 million barrels per day recorded in March, up by 300,000 barrels per day, the data shows.
Meanwhile, similar data from Kpler, another commodities data provider, revealed that the exports rose to 1.3 million barrels a day in April from a million of barrels per day in mid-March.
The tankers leaving Russian ports were reportedly heading to “destinations unknown,” and European oil traders have been buying it up under the radar.
In April so far, more than 11.1 million barrels were reportedly shipped by tankers without a planned route, which is up from almost none before the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
“The European Union fully sanctioning Russian oil would be like saying, ‘Tomorrow you cut your salary by 40% and you need to continue to live as if nothing has happened,’” Giovanni Staunovo, a commodity analyst at UBS Group AG told the media.
“In the meantime, there are huge discounts for Russian oil in the market. Some will find this environment very attractive,” he added.
In early March, the US banned imports of Russian oil, while the EU, which imports 27% of its oil from the country, is split on the embargo. According to High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, the decision to ban Russian energy supplies may be vetoed by member states such as Germany, Austria and Hungary. Meanwhile, Poland and France are actively promoting the idea.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian crude sales would be reoriented from markets in Europe to Asia over time.