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Russia's Crude Flows to Asia Take Hold Near Unprecedented Levels

China, India taking close to half of crude shipped from Russian ports

Russia’s crude heads east

Russia’s crude heads east

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Russia’s seaborne crude flows are taking on a new pattern as Moscow seeks to deal with impending European sanctions on its exports. India has moved from being an insignificant buyer of Russian crude to the second-biggest destination for shipments, behind only China.

As China emerges as the only market for crude shipped from ports on Russia’s Pacific coast, India has rapidly become the largest purchaser of barrels loaded at ports on its western shores. Asian buyers, dominated by China and India, are now taking close to half of all the crude shipped from the country’s ports, with a steady stream of tankers heading around Europe and through the Suez Canal from the Baltic and Arctic Seas.