By Julian Lee (Bloomberg) —
Russia seems to have discovered a brand new technique of getting its oil to market with western sanctions looming for Moscow.
A cargo of about 700,000 barrels of Russian oil was delivered to Egypt’s El Hamra oil terminal on its Mediterranean coast early on July 24. Just a few hours later, one other vessel collected a consignment from the port — which can have included some or all the Russian barrels — in line with vessel-tracking knowledge monitored by Bloomberg.
The bizarre transfer makes the cargo’s final vacation spot tougher to trace, including to a development of Russian oil shipments changing into more and more obscured since European patrons started to shun them following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.
El Hamra, operated by Egypt’s Western Desert Working Petroleum Co., has six storage tanks, capable of maintain 1.5m bbl of crude, and a single buoy mooring facility for loading and unloading. The terminal was constructed to deal with crude produced in Egypt’s western desert, creating prospects to mix the Russian barrels with native volumes.
The proprietor of the El Hamra terminal didn’t reply to a number of makes an attempt to contact it by cellphone.
Just a few hours after the primary tanker — the Crested — left El Hamra one other one, the Chris, arrived. It had already been on the terminal for a number of days, however moved off the mooring to permit Crested to dock, the monitoring knowledge present.
When Chris lastly left El Hamra on July 28, its cargo tanks have been virtually full, the monitoring knowledge present. It’s now moored on the Ras Shukheir oil terminal on Egypt’s Crimson Beach. This terminal, too, presents prospects to mix Russian crude with Egyptian barrels.
Egypt is already being used by Russia as a transit route for gas oil. It’s unclear if El Hamra is a one-off, or will grow to be a extra generally used port for Russian oil flows.
Beforehand, tankers carrying Russian crude have performed ship-to-ship cargo transfers off the Spanish north African metropolis of Ceuta and, extra not too long ago, within the mid-Atlantic. That’s an uncommon location for such a difficult operation that’s usually carried out in sheltered near-shore areas.
One other crude cargo switch seems to have taken place off Johor, close to Singapore, in June. The world has already grow to be a location for transshipping cargoes of Iranian crude heading to China.
A European Union ban on oil shipments from Moscow and on offering insurance coverage and different transport providers is because of come into impact later this yr, including stress on Russia to establish and take a look at other ways to get its cargoes to patrons.
–With help from Salma El Wardany and Sherry Su.
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.