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Russia Loses 90% of Its Key European Oil Market Before Sanctions

Shipments to northern Europe have fallen below 100,000 barrels a day

Bloomberg business news
Europe's Energy Nightmare Has Only Just Begun

With just two weeks to go until European Union sanctions come into force, Russia has already lost more than 90% of its market in the bloc’s northern countries, previously the mainstay of shipments from the Baltic and Arctic terminals.

Russia shipped just 95,000 barrels a day to Rotterdam — its only remaining European destination for seaborne deliveries outside the Mediterranean/Black Sea basin — in the four weeks to Nov. 18. That’s down from more than 1.2 million barrels a day sent to the region’s ports each day in early February. States like Lithuania, France and Germany halted such imports several months ago, while Poland followed suit in September.

Three-quarters of the crude loaded at Russia’s Baltic ports is now headed to Asia, with Indian refiners snapping up barrels to take advantage of a grace period offered by the US and UK and expected to be adopted by the EU. That would exempt from sanctions cargoes that are loaded before the ban comes into effect on Dec. 5, as long as they are delivered by Jan. 19.

The G7 nations are expected to announce the level of their price cap on Russian crude shipments as soon as Wednesday. Cargoes purchased at prices above that level would lose access to European and UK ships, insurance and other services.