Russia’s crude oil exports by sea hit a new high of 3.55 million barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to May 5, the highest shipments since at least early 2022, tanker-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg showed on Tuesday.
Russian crude shipments have continued to rise over the past four weeks, according to the data reported by Bloomberg’s Julian Lee, despite Russia’s insistence that it is cutting oil production by 500,000 bpd and even more.
Russia warned in February that it would cut its crude oil production by 500,000 bpd due to EU import bans and price caps on its crude oil and oil products. Initially, Russia said this lowered production would apply to March. But Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced part way through March that the cuts would be extended.
Those 500,000 bpd cuts will now extend until the end of 2023, but crude oil export data in recent weeks do not reflect any cuts—on the contrary, Russian crude oil exports by sea are rising.
On a four-week average basis, Russian crude oil shipments to May 5 rose by 180,000 bpd to 3.63 million bpd, also the highest since Bloomberg started to closely track vessels departing from Russia’s oil export terminals at the beginning of 2022.
Volumes headed to China and India in the past four weeks were also at a record, considering that nearly all Russian exports are now headed to the two biggest Asian importers and other destinations in Asia flashed as “unknown” on vessel data.
The four-week average crude oil exports from Russia to Asia and “unknown destinations” increased by 124,000 bpd in the four weeks to May 5, compared to the four-week average for the period to April 28, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg.
The main destinations of Russian crude oil shipments continue to be China, India, and Turkey, while the cargoes currently labeled as headed to an “unknown destination” eventually end up in one of those three countries.
By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com