Russia’s oil industry may be coming under increasingly intense international pressure, but its seaborne exports are far from retreating.
In fact, shipments from the country surged last month while many of its partners in the OPEC+ coalition — including leading member Saudi Arabia — eased back, according to data firm Kpler Ltd.
Moscow is likely seeking to maximize oil sales before a European Union ban widens at the weekend to include refined products, and is pushing more cargoes onto the water after Germany and Poland all but halted piped imports. Exports jumped 682,000 barrels a day, or 15%, to 5.18 million a day, Kpler said. Overall oil production was steady, according to government data.
It’s also unclear exactly what drove the decrease in Saudi shipments, which dropped by 580,000 barrels a day last month, or about 8%. Kpler suggests the kingdom may have been conducting maintenance at its oil fields.
Riyadh hasn’t displayed any desire for a new intervention in global markets even as crude prices sag, with the kingdom steering OPEC+ to keep output unchanged at a monitoring meeting this week. After making hefty supply cuts in late 2022, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries aims to stick with current targets for the rest of this year, an official said.
The decrease in January is unlikely to be repeated this month when Saudi exports should rebound to about 7.3 million barrels a day, said Viktor Katona, an analyst at Kpler in Vienna.