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Russia's Oil Exports Collapsed Since G-7 Sanctions Began

Country’s volumes plunged by more than half in week to Dec. 16

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Russia’s seaborne crude shipments collapsed in the first full week of Group of Seven sanctions targeting Moscow’s petroleum revenues, a potential source of alarm for governments around the world seeking to avoid disruption to the nation’s giant export program.

Some of the plunge was exaggerated by work at a port in the Baltic that’s now finished, but there also appeared to be a shortage of ship owners willing to carry key cargoes from an export facility in Asia. Several other ports also showed week-on-week declines. The data must be treated carefully, because weekly flows are at the mercy of the timing of cargo scheduling, the weather, and even the quality of signals that the vessels themselves transmit.

European Union sanctions that began on Dec. 5 are designed to curb Russia’s revenue from oil. On one hand, the bloc stopped buying but it also barred the provision of key services to enable the oil to be moved. The US, alarmed at the severity of the measures, pushed for the measures to be softened with the implementation of a price cap, keeping those things — especially insurance — available for buyers elsewhere in the world when traders paid $60 a barrel or less for Russian oil.