After the embargo on Russian crude oil on December 5, 2022, it is now the turn of Russian refined petroleum products.
1) What are refined petroleum products?
There are 2 types of resources at the level of oil:
- Crude oil which is collected by land or marine drilling platforms.
- Refined petroleum products which were originally crude oil. These products having received refining operations, they have been transformed into gasoline, diesel, etc…
2) Why this new embargo?
The embargoes are linked. The obvious objective is to weaken Russia economically in order to help Ukraine in its war effort.
The embargo is to weaken Russia on the economic front, as oil is one of Russia’s largest sources of revenue as indicated by the CREA study, with revenues averaging around 104 billion dollars per year just with commercial trade with Europe. (Source: https://www.publicsenat.fr)
Half of Russia’s energy exports are concentrated towards Europe. Sanctioning Russia is therefore, for the political and financial authorities of the EU, to disrupt its commercial revenues related to oil whether crude or already refined into other petroleum products.
This new embargo is therefore a continuation of the December 5, 2022 embargo but represents the same range of sanctions against Russia.
3) The concrete consequences of these embargoes on Russian oil (crude and refined)
Before talking about the consequences of the next embargo of February 5, 2023, let’s analyze the consequences of the previous embargo of December 5, 2022.
If Russian crude oil exports to the EU represent half of the Russian crude oil export market, this represents for the EU around 25% of total crude oil arrivals.
Since the end of 2022, Russian crude oil imports are therefore almost completely frozen (except for the Baltic countries).
Russia therefore no longer exports almost any oil to the EU but has completely changed its trade partnerships by favoring India and China, for example.
To such an extent that India has become the first importer of Russian crude oil in early 2023 with 1.2 million barrels of Russian crude oil imported per day. (Source: https://www.lesechos.fr)
For comparison, the EU still imported 2.6 million barrels of Russian crude oil per day in January 2022.
As for China, it has doubled its imports of Russian LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) in 2022. (Source: https://www.zonebourse.com)
Russia is already strengthening its exports to China and India in explosive proportions as the figures for 2022 show. Before the Russia-Ukraine war, India imported less than 1% of Russian oil in its total petroleum needs. By the end of 2022, Russian crude oil exceeded 25% of its total oil imports. If these figures continue to increase, Russia will have no problem completely replacing Europe as its former strategic partner.
On the Western side, out of the 2.6 million barrels of Russian oil that the EU imported every day in early 2022, more than half have been replaced by other trade partnerships, including the United States and Norway, but despite the EU’s efforts, there would still be less than 1 million barrels of oil per day to complete to completely replace Russian crude oil. Unfortunately for the EU, Russia has also announced that it is cutting oil deliveries to all countries that capped its oil. The Baltic countries, which cannot do without Russian oil and who have been granted a waiver to continue importing Russian oil, will therefore see their imports cut this time by Russia since they are among the Western countries that have capped the price of the Russian barrel of oil at 60 dollars. (Source: https://www.bfmtv.com)
Inevitably, the EU is heading towards a crude oil shortage in the worst case, and in the best case, terrible inflation on crude oil prices.
To return this time to the next embargo on Russian refined petroleum products, that is to say diesel, gasoline, etc. The EU imported in 2022 almost 220 million barrels of diesel from Russia. Russia accounted for 40% of total diesel imports within the EU. To solve this problem, the EU turned to Arab countries, the United States (again) and even China!
For example, Germany managed to negotiate with Saudi Arabia an import of 250,000 barrels of diesel per month, that is to say a little less than 10,000 barrels of diesel per day. (Source: https://www.aa.com.tr)
Similarly, the United States delivered 660,000 tons of diesel in December 2022 to the EU, which represents 4.5 million barrels of diesel. (Source: https://www.argusmedia.com).
It can be seen that even if countries like the United States and Arab countries increase their diesel exports to the EU, this is not enough to make up for the 220 million barrels of diesel from Russia. At best, it seems that the EU can find alternatives for half of the missing Russian diesel, but for the rest, there do not seem to be any immediate solutions.
Yet the embargo on Russian refined petroleum products is taking place in 2 weeks.
In addition to a crude oil shortage, there is therefore a strong chance that the EU will suffer a diesel shortage but also an increase in diesel prices.
This will further destabilize the European oil market, which is already struggling with the consequences of the first embargo on Russian crude oil.
The EU seems to be increasingly heading towards the scenario of an oil shock, as even though measures to find other energy partnerships have been put forward and are being researched, the EU was far too dependent on Russia in terms of energy (45% for natural gas and nearly 30% for Russian oil, all products combined).
It is therefore an organized economic suicide that the EU is inflicting on itself in an ideological war effort.