Behind-the-scenes trade in oil and gas is becoming a hallmark of the new format of relations in the global commodity exchange.
The president’s press secretary does not consider it necessary to announce the list of ruble payers for gas. Tankers with transponders turned off were joined by shipments with no destination. And traders added new, hitherto unknown varieties of “Latvian” and “Turkmen blend” to their price lists in addition to the world-famous Brent and Light Sweet benchmarks.
If you look at the chart of oil for the past couple of months, we see that the quotations of black gold quietly traded closer to the lower boundary of the current range. This means, according to traders, there is not only no deficit, but also not expected.
Russia successfully increases oil exports. Photo: Yandex Images
One can of course recall the release of reserves by the United States, or the recent resumption of covid restrictions in the Celestial Empire, but nevertheless, this is not the volume that could calmly keep oil above $100 after the hike to $130
And that’s where the author gets a red-hot thought. Maybe the West is failing to make Russia an outcast on the energy market and Moscow continues to successfully deliver its supplies despite all the “collective efforts” of Biden and Borrell?
Otherwise, why would there be such stability in the world oil market? And now the Middle East has made it clear that no reductions in volumes are planned and will not happen.
The Western media, particularly The Wall Street Journal, are outraged, or maybe they are just documenting the fact that a non-transparent market is beginning to emerge, allowing them to hide the origin of the oil. And the goods increasingly start to leave Russian ports without a destination.
The volume of such shipments exceeded 11 million tons in April, although before that there were none at all. At the same time, according to the same TankerTrackers.com, the volume of Russian exports to the European Union in April increased by at least 20% compared to March to 1.6 million barrels per day.
Industry analysts emphasize that nothing new is happening. The old “transshipment” scheme, which once allowed such countries as Iran or Venezuela to export, is returning. Small tankers that go to sea with cargoes without a destination are transshipped to larger vessels.
this case, as you may have already guessed, the original origin of the goods is “erased
Eventually, new types of oil products begin to appear on the market, such as “Latvian blend” or “Turkmen blend”. In fact, this indicates that there is Russian oil in the final product with a share of up to 49%.
Despite the ban on imports to the U.S., Britain and other countries, Russia remains the largest supplier to the European Union. And the idea of replacing a supplier with a 30% market share is not as easy as one might think. The usual populism has nothing to do with the current needs of the EU, and the commodity markets analysts at Swiss bank UBS wrote very remarkably about it:
Brussels’ economic sanctions on Russian oil are tantamount to cutting your salary by 40% and trying to live as if nothing has happened.”
According to Global Witness, major oil companies and traders continue to charter ships to transport oil from Russian terminals. Very often this is officially explained by long-term contacts signed before 24 February. And American ExxonMobil and Italian Eni declare that tankers are chartered to deliver Kazakh oil from Russian ports.
Western business is not ready for parting
From all this it is possible to draw a simple conclusion – business is not ready to curtail cooperation with Russia, and will continue to look for any possible and impossible variants of circumventing all the Washington decisions. Considering that Moscow offers a decent discount (up to 30% of the price of Brent) on its oil, this looks like the most plausible scenario, and Russian oil exports will successfully continue under the new rules.
The right to draw the line at this story goes to the head of Europe’s largest oil corporation Shell, Ben van Beurden. His company has stated the new rules of the game in no uncertain terms: “If there is less than 50% of Russian oil in the ‘refined’ (i.e. blended) products, then it is a new product that is not subject to any restrictions”.
On topic: If the oil embargo “will be” tomorrow, problems for the West are coming today.