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FSU Oil Trade in March 2012

Source: OPEC 4/20/2012, Location: Asia

The level of overall crude exports was little changed in February at 6.44 mb/d, compared with 6.41 mb/d the month before. The increased supply was provided by Azeri crude passing through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline and a rise in rail deliveries of Kazakh crude to Ukrainian ports that offset a reduction in supplies from the far east of Russia.

BTC blend exports from the Turkish port of Ceyhan rose by 8% to 745 tb/d, due to increased production in Azerbaijan after the completion of field maintenance at the end of 2011. Kazakh crude transit shipments through Russia by rail rose by more than 20% in February, to just over 166 tb/d, (as a result of the increased deliveries of Tengiz crude to the Ukrainian port of Feodosiya by the Tengizchevroil TCO consortium). TCO cut shipments to Odessa after bad weather disrupted loadings at the port.

Along the Transneft pipeline system, overall crude exports from Russia were steady at 4.21 mb/d, despite some changes in flows. Black Sea exports rose by 9.1% to 933 tb/d, compared with the month before. Baltic exports dropped by a sharp 7.9% to 1.38 mb/d, due to maintenance on the pipeline system, and led to Urals flows to Primorsk. But this was offset by rising exports through Novorossisk and the Druzhba pipeline, which increased by a modest 1.6% to 1.25 mb/d.

The FSU’s total product exports fell by 227 tb/d, or 8%, in February to 2.60 mb/d m o-m, due to bad weather which disrupted port-loadings, especially in the Black Sea. The Sheskharis terminal at Novorossiysk was closed on 7–10 February and again on 15–20 February, because of strong winds and iced-up berths. Furthermore, exports were curtailed by exceptionally cold weather in the FSU countries in early February, boosting domestic demand.

Baltic product exports were also delayed, with storage tanks at many terminals filling up early in February, after ice in the region, which delayed tanker arrivals, and due to cold weather, which created difficulty in handling fuel oil. Also, the wave of booking fuel oil shipments from European and Baltic ports to the Asia-Pacific a month earlier, which had been driven by a tight Singapore market, dried up exports in February.

The oversupply that followed contributed further to the cutbacks in exports, as the demand for cargoes to move outside Europe disappeared. In response, these port difficulties caused Russian plants to maximize domestic sales of fuel oil.

Russian exports are expected to fall in March, as several refineries undergo maintenance, and domestic motor fuel demand is projected to rise. Due to low Ukrainian gasoil demand, a subsidiary of state-controlled Naftogaz started 76-octane gasoline exports from the Shebelinsky gas-processing plant through the Latvian port of Riga, which was the first time that Shebelinsky had exported gasoline during the winter.

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