Much of this demand is expected to come from Asia. India’s purchases of Russian oil, in particular, jumped more than 700% in the five weeks since the start of the war in Ukraine compared with the previous five weeks, according to data from the Russian tracking group. tankers.
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As shipments to Asia have increased, Europe has shown a willingness to scale back its purchases of Russian crude, Reid L’Anson, senior commodities economist at Kpler, said in an email.
Tracking tankers adrift at sea was important to begin to paint a new picture of Russian oil exports, he said. While it wasn’t necessarily unusual to have tankers with unknown destinations, “given the situation in Russia, tracking those flows will be critical,” he said. “I will be very interested to see how well Asia fills the void left by European purchases,” he added.
Part of the West’s abandonment of Russian oil has followed mounting public pressure.
When the Minerva Virgo, a 50,000-ton Croatian-flagged tanker carrying Russian petrochemicals, docked in New York last week, environmental group Greenpeace staged a protest at the port, with activists in dinghies brandishing flags. placards reading “The Petroleum Fuel War. ”
(Several days later, a smaller tanker carrying Russian chemicals also heading for New York, the Vinjerac, changed its destination to “Drifting” a short distance from shore and did not dock.)
In the UK, dockworkers at Birkenhead docks in northwest England earlier this month refused to unload a German-flagged tanker. The workers would “not unload Russian oil under any circumstances”, a local union leader told Sky News. The UK has banned Russian tankers from entering UK ports, but the order does not apply to ships from other countries carrying Russian oil.
In response to the invasion, the major oil companies declared that they were giving up their investments in Russia. Companies like BP, Shell, TotalEnergies and Exxon Mobil have all said they will not sign new oil contracts with Russia.