Russia pulls back on diesel export ban

Russia will be increasing the level of diesel shipments from its main western ports by more than 50% in November after its oil refineries processed more crude than it had managed in September. The domestic fuel market has stabilized, meaning that an export ban that was imposed in October has been withdrawn, reports Bloomberg.

Loadings from Russian ports on the Black and Baltic Seas, including some batches originating in Belarus, were set to reach 2.16m tons in November, according to industry data – 56% above the October plan and Russia’s highest planned exports in three months.

Diesel loading plans, in million tonsNovemberOctober
Baltic port of Primorsk1.470.969
Baltic port of Vysotsk0.4070.180
Black Sea port of Novorossiysk0.2820.239

In late September Russia had imposed a temporary ban on most diesel export flows to reduce the impact of rapid increases in domestic road-fuel prices. Most of the restrictions were lifted two weeks later, but the government still ordered major refineries to keep half of their diesel at home.  Those restrictions, which affected the Russian export plan for October and created uncertainties over how much diesel the nation’s producers would be able to sell overseas in the future, are now over.

Russia’s refineries have been processing more and more crude in recent weeks, with the main seasonal work expected to be completed by mid-November. Domestic pump prices of diesel have stabilized, which was the main concern, given its potential for political destabilization at home.

The planned increase in the level of Russian seaborne diesel exports was said by analysts to be likely to offset the impact of seasonal refinery work throughout Asia, which might limit that region’s diesel supplies. It could also lead to a geographical repositioning of some of the global fleet.