Just two months before the spread of European sanctions on Russian oil products, the EU countries and the UK have sharply increased purchases of Russian diesel, as well as fuel from alternative suppliers. Deliveries have grown so much that, if the current pace is maintained, they will be able to break the record of 2016. This is reported by Bloomberg, citing data from the research company Vortexa.
In anticipation of the sanctions, which will start from the beginning of February, Europe is trying to stock up on diesel fuel for the future. Since Russian fuel has traditionally been the main fuel for the European market, it was on it that local companies made their bets before the start of the embargo, although supplies from other countries also increased. In just 10 days in December, the EU and the UK combined imported 16 million barrels of diesel, a pace that would set a record high since 2016.
According to December statistics, the EU intends to replace Russian supplies primarily with tankers from Saudi Arabia, the United States, India and the United Arab Emirates. Experts also name Turkey among the suppliers, although they tend to believe that the republic buys Russian fuel for domestic consumption at a discount, and sells diesel of its own production to the EU.
However, the problem of a high level of dependence on oil products from Russia has not yet been solved, since in November and December Russia still accounted for more than 50% of supplies, the agency notes. December is the last month when Russian fuel can remain in storage at the largest European fuel hub in the Netherlands, so traders who are still trying to make money on Russian supplies are now trading in an accelerated mode, trying to sell fuel immediately to a specific buyer.
Analysts at the consulting company Wood Mackenzie Ltd. previously warned that the continent would face a dwindling of diesel inventories to a 12-year low. This situation can provoke local and large-scale fuel shortages in European countries. The EU has not yet found worthy alternatives to Russian fuel in a commensurate volume. The embargo on Russian oil products comes into force on February 5.