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HomeLatest NewsTwilight fleet against sanctions: how Russia managed to dramatically increase oil exports

Twilight fleet against sanctions: how Russia managed to dramatically increase oil exports

Date: March 22, 2023 Time: 22:34:04

Foreign Navy Helps Russia Boost Oil Exports Despite Sanctions



… Now look at your hands. We take the miserable Russian oil – imposed by sanctions, covered by a price cap, depleted by the European embargo. We take it to a distant place, for example, to the Mediterranean Sea. We transferred it from one tanker to another, and now it can be taken anywhere and sold at any price!

The American agency Bloomberg wrote about this method of selling Russian oil. By tracking the voyages of tankers across the seas and oceans, analysts have found that Russia is “managing” — that is, reloading from tanker to tanker — record volumes of its oil. Some 19 million barrels of raw materials have already been transshipped in December and January, and the process is only growing.

But that is not all. Analysts tracked: most likely, several foreign supertankers were involved in the transshipment (a huge ship with a displacement of 320 thousand tons, – Ed.). Including with the “help” from him, the export of our Ural oil is growing and increased by 30% during the week – up to 3.8 million barrels per day. There have been no such figures since April of last year.

“Two phenomena came together here: the response to the pressure of sanctions and the restructuring of the export market,” explains Igor Yushkov, a leading analyst at the National Fund for Energy Security, an expert at the Financial University. – The US and Europe no longer buy our oil, now we are focused only on the Asian market. And those are longer distances. Previously, we transported oil to Europe on small-tonnage river-sea tankers. And to Asia, for example, to India, it is more profitable and more convenient to transport it on supertankers. In 2022, Russia has done everything possible to form a tanker fleet loyal to itself, including supertankers. This is the so-called twilight fleet. Their true owners are not afraid of US and EU bans and are not obliged to inform them where and at what price the oil is transported. The main task of the twilight fleet is to overcome the maximum price of up to 60 dollars per barrel and to get away from transport and insurance bans.

The export scheme, according to the expert, is now as follows. In the Russian port, “black gold” is loaded onto conventional tankers. Those go to sea and recharge it in supertankers. They then return to their home port again, loaded and back for transshipment. They quickly make several walkers to completely fill the supertanker. In addition, large ships that go through the Suez Canal or bypass Africa go to buyers.

“Under current conditions, this is the normal and most efficient logistics,” says the expert Yushkov. – And most importantly, this allows us to recover the volume of oil exports that existed at the beginning of 2022.


To enter new markets, Russia has to give significant discounts on oil. Last year, in May-June, the discount reached $35 per barrel. By December, it was down to $18. Now it has grown again.

As Igor Yushkov explains, we are now selling oil at an average of $55 per barrel, with a share price of $87. But this is a very average price. Some of the oil comes with very serious discounts. And the other, practically at exchange prices, with a discount of only 7-8 dollars per barrel.

– This price is above the ceiling. To transport it, we need a twilight fleet, explains Igor Yushkov.

Is this a sanctions violation? And here it is not. The essence of the “price ceiling” is this: the European Union, the Big Seven and other “unfriendly” countries prohibit companies from their countries from insuring and transporting Russian oil if it sells for more than $60. And when an incomprehensible “twilight” tanker takes her to a “friendly” Asian country, no one will bring any claims to her.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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