Russian crude is channeled into the UAE as sanctions divert flows Ship’s crew

By Alex Lawler

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates has taken on more cargoes of Russian crude, according to ship tracking data and trade sources, another example of how Western sanctions against Russia have adjusted traditional energy trade flows.

Russia has been selling both raw and refined products at discounted prices after international sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation,” left it with fewer buyers.

The development also underscores the growing cooperation between Russia and the Gulf region’s leading oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Arab Gulf states have resisted US pressure to isolate Russia and pump more oil to replace Russian supplies after it came under Western sanctions.

It’s not known exactly when the UAE started importing Russian crude, but tanker tracking data shows volumes increased following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions against Moscow.

Ship-tracking data shows that about 1.5 million barrels of Russian crude have entered the UAE — one of the world’s largest oil producers — since November 2022, with volumes either starting or increasing since early 2022.

According to data from energy analysis company Kpler, the first shipment of Russian crude oil to the UAE occurred in 2019, but shipments picked up after April 2022, with a pause between July and October 2022.

Data from Refinitiv Eikon shows that the first Russian shipment of crude oil to the country occurred in 2022, with volumes increasing in April 2022.

The energy ministries of the United Arab Emirates and Russia did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the data.

GROWING COLLABORATION

Saudi Arabia has imported a significant amount of Russian fuel oil to burn in its power plants, while freeing up more crude oil for export. Only one The shipment of Russian crude oil to the UAE has been previously reported.

China, India and several African and other Middle Eastern countries have also increased Russian crude oil and product imports, while many countries have banned or discouraged such purchases.

The UAE has also maintained cooperation with Russia in the global producers’ alliance known as OPEC+, which brings together the organization of petroleum exporting countries and allies.

Data obtained by Reuters tracking Eikon’s vessels showed that a shipment of Russian crude arrived at the Ruwais refinery in the United Arab Emirates in November 2022.

Another shipment, Russian Ural crude, is said to have arrived at the Fujairah oil hub earlier this month.

Data from Kpler also showed that both crude oil shipments took place. “Shipments to the United Arab Emirates happen occasionally,” a Russian crude trading source said.

(Reporting by Alex Lawler; Additional reporting by Maha El Dahan and the Reuters energy team; Editing by Jan Harvey)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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