By Thomas Gualtieri and Rodrigo Orihuela
(Bloomberg) – The Spanish government said an initial investigation found no evidence to justify claims that the country imported sanctioned Russian diesel.
Repsol SA, the country’s top oil refiner, complained Thursday that several tankers had recently brought fuel into the country via North Africa and Turkey. Such shipments were banned in early February as part of European Union measures to punish Russia for invading Ukraine.
While initial results of an investigation showed all documentation for the shipments was in order, the government will continue the review, Teresa Ribera, Spain’s energy minister, said on Friday.
Repsol officials said the imports distort markets and give companies that break the rules an unfair advantage. According to Argus Media data, Russia’s diesel is typically sold on wholesale markets at deep discounts versus non-Russian suppliers, providing an incentive to cheat.
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El Mundo newspaper reported earlier on Friday that at least two ships are suspected of dumping Russian fuel in Spanish ports.
Ribera is also preparing a letter to her colleagues in Europe asking for a coordinated strategy to prevent Russian imports. She will also ask the European Commission to create a new certification and traceability system that will require documentary evidence of the ports and refineries that supplied the fuel.
In addition to the shipments under investigation, Europe also legally receives large quantities of fuel made from Russian oil at refineries outside the 27-state bloc.
India is on track to become Europe’s largest supplier of refined fuels this month while also buying record amounts of Russian crude, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from analytics firm Kpler.
–Assisted by Rachel Graham.
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