Russia’s Crude Oil Exports Still Higher Than Before It Pledged To Cut

Russia’s crude oil exports by sea fell slightly in the four weeks to June 18, but were still 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) higher compared to February, which serves as a baseline for the 500,000-bpd production cut Russia has promised this year.  

In the four weeks to June 18, Russia’s four-week average volume of crude shipments from its key export terminals inched down to 3.63 million bpd, compared to a 3.66 million bpd four-week average for the period to June 11, tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg showed on Tuesday.

Despite the slight drop in Russian seaborne crude exports in the latest week, Moscow’s crude oil shipments continue to be well above the export levels seen in February this year, which was the month used as a reference for the cuts Russia has said it would make.

In the four weeks to June 18, Russian crude exports by sea were 250,000 bpd higher than in the four weeks to February 26, according to the data reported by Bloomberg’s Julian Lee. 

The shipment-tracking suggests that even if Russia is making cuts in its production, it is not reflected in the exports of its crude at all.  

Russia has said that the 500,000 bpd cuts will now extend until the end of 2024, but crude oil export data in recent weeks do not reflect any cuts—on the contrary, Russian crude oil exports by sea have been rising.

Last month, reports emerged that Russian Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin sought to convince Western analysts in a rare call that Russia is indeed reducing its oil production by 500,000 bpd.

Russia has stopped reporting oil production levels, and the market and analysts have to rely on vessel-tracking data, trade sources, and import statistics in China and India about the amount of Russian supply.

The strong crude flows from Russia have surprised many analysts who have cited resilient Russian exports together with macroeconomic concerns as reasons for the most recent downgrades of their oil price forecasts this month.