Under-the-radar companies ship Russian oil as big names avoid trade
- Major traders have shunned Russian crude and smaller companies like Bellatrix are taking their place, Bloomberg reported.
- Bellatrix transported nearly 3 million barrels of Russian crude oil from the Urals in May, but there is little public information about it.
- Asian companies and others also stepped in, with Geneva-based Litasco carrying the most from the Russian Urals.
Major oil traders shunned Russian supplies after the country invaded Ukraine, paving the way for smaller, under-the-radar companies to transport Russian crude oil, Bloomberg reported.
Among these is a little-known company called Bellatrix, whose ships transported nearly 3 million barrels of flagship Ural-grade Russian crude in May alone, according to the report. This volume represents a quarter of the entire Urals from Primorsk, the Russian seaport on the Baltic where the company is listed.
But there’s little public information available about Bellatrix, and people in the oil shipping industry told Bloomberg they’ve never heard of the company, which didn’t appear in previous data from the companies. port agents.
International trading houses such as Vitol, Trafigura and Glencore have ended their purchases of Russian oil. The setback came after the European Union gave them a May 15 deadline to stop buying the country’s crude and as the bloc moves closer to a phased import embargo.
This has opened the door for smaller oil trading firms like Bellatrix to step in as more buyers of Russian supplies emerge in Asia. Price-sensitive buyers in China and India are snapping up Russian oil, which is selling at low prices as sanctions reduce demand for the products.
Asia is a key market for Russian energy, with the country exporting more than 350 million barrels of oil to Asian buyers, nearly 25% of total Russian crude oil exports. Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer, after the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Asian companies have also become involved in the transport of Russian oil. China’s Shandong Port Group has transported crude from Russia to China, Reuters reported, describing it as the first time a Chinese company other than Beijing oil giants has bought directly from a Russian supplier.
Hong Kong-registered company Livna Shipping shipped Russian supplies, as did a Dubai-listed company called Coral Energy, according to Bloomberg.
Geneva-based Litasco, a unit of Russian producer Lukoil, handles most of the Russian Urals. It has transported at least 14 million barrels of oil in April and 8.6 million barrels in May so far.
Litasco and Shandong did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Bellatrix and Livna could not be reached for comment.
The IEA warned last week that Russia’s oil production will continue to fall in the months and years to come as it will not be able to redirect the volumes it is losing to Europe. Moscow itself has said its production could fall by 17% in 2022.
Russia will likely be permanently shut out of global energy markets once Europe can function without the country’s oil and gas, senior energy officials told a conference in Brisbane on Tuesday.
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