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Russian Oil Flows to Europe Have Quietly Started Creeping Up

Litasco has been taking Russian oil into Lukoil-owned oil refinery in Italy; Turkey taking more

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Europe’s resolve to stop buying Russian crude may be starting to ebb.

The continent’s oil refineries took 1.84 million barrels a day of crude from Russia last week, according to tanker tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. That was the the third consecutive weekly increase and took flows from Russia to Europe, including Turkey, to their highest in almost two months.

Partly it was about Litasco SA, the trading unit of Russia’s largest oil producer, taking barrels to the company’s refineries, and partly it was about Turkey purchasing more. Beyond that, though, steady ongoing declines appear to have slowed.

The developments suggest those companies and countries who were unwilling to buy Russian have already stepped back, leaving the market to others who are happier to do so. Russian oil plunged to huge discounts after the country’s invasion of Ukraine as some companies stopped buying.

China and India are still the largest buyers of Russian crude, the weekly tracking data show.

The following charts show four-week averages of the destinations of crude shipments from Russian export terminals. With all cargoes loaded at ports on the country’s Pacific coast heading to China, Asia is now taking half of all the crude shipped from the country. That’s up from about one-third at the beginning of the year.