European companies helped Russia sell a record amount of oil abroad even against the backdrop of all the sanctions and the announced oil embargo: Greek companies have sharply increased the volume of supplies of Russian energy resources to third countries outside the EU. The largest market now served by European vessels is China. This is written by The Wall Street Journal with reference to market participants.
The publication cites data from the analytical agency Vortexa: since the beginning of the war, the volume of oil supplies from Russia to India has grown from near zero to a million barrels per day, and exports to China - from 670,000 barrels in February to 1.13 million barrels in June. According to Vortexa, export data show that Russia has succeeded in redirecting oil flows from the West to the East, albeit with the proviso that for this it had to offer huge discounts on products, up to $40 per barrel.
The main beneficiary of the situation in the oil market has become the Greek shipping companies, which account for about a third of the entire merchant fleet of the planet. The publication claims that after the introduction of the sixth package of sanctions, which included the gradual abandonment of Russian oil, the Greek fleet almost doubled the volume of oil shipments from Russia to third countries. According to Lloyd's List Intelligence, in May-June of this year, Greek ships accounted for up to half of all deliveries of Russian oil, and the number of ships under the Greek flag has increased from 89 last year to 151 this year. The publication notes that the Greek ships were seen even in the northern ports, which are traditionally used by Russian and Chinese shipping companies.
European shipping volumes have skyrocketed amid the oil embargo coming into effect on Dec. 5, and transport companies are looking to cash in on the hot shipping market, expecting volumes to drop once the embargo is in place. Against this background, the cost of chartering an Aframax medium-sized vessel has quadrupled - from $10,000 to $40,000 per day; at the same time, companies fear that since the beginning of the embargo, demand for transportation may fall sharply, since the sixth package of sanctions involves a ban on insurance for oil tanker shipments from Russia. However, analysts predict that tankers will not be idle for a long time, as the demand for oil is still at a high level and transport will simply be redirected to other directions.
The absence of a ban on the transportation of Russian oil in the sixth EU sanctions package was criticized by hardliners on Russia, as well as representatives of Ukraine. They believe that in this way the imposition of sanctions against oil is meaningless, because Russia continues to receive super profits from the sale of energy resources. Against this background, the G8 countries are trying to promote the idea of introducing marginal oil prices, which will be implemented through ship insurance mechanisms. At the moment, the ship insurance market is almost completely controlled by American, British and European companies. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen previously explained that even countries that have not formally joined the marginal oil price mechanism will nevertheless be forced to buy oil within its framework, since under other conditions Western insurers will simply be banned from working. At the same time, Yellen is sure that the mechanism promoted by the G7 is beneficial for all countries that buy Russian oil, because they will be able to buy it even cheaper than now .