Russia Exported Less Base Oil in July

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Russian base oil export loadings by rail and river dropped 12% in July, compared to June, caused by falling demand in export destinations and higher prices for domestic finished products, according to a market observer.

Base oil exports from the country fell to their lowest level since September 2020, said Denis Varaksin, senior manager at Berlin-based trader DYM Resources. July exports were 78,130 metric tons.

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“Taneco refinery almost stopped exporting in July because of the regular maintenace in June,” Varaksin said in an Aug. 24 news release by DYM. “The refinery got back to exporting in August. It exported about 1,600 tons in July versus an average of 7,700 tons for the first six months of 2021.”

Tatneft’s Taneco refinery in Niznekamsk has capacity to make 90,000 t/y of API Group II and 100,000 t/y of Group III base oils. The refinery is Russia’s key exporter of Group III 4 centiStoke oils, according to Varaksin.

Lukoil’s Volgograd refinery reduced export loadings by river and rail to 13,200 tons. The refinery’s base oil river exports in May and July were at their lowest level in a more than a decade, DYM found. 

The base oil plant in Volgograd can make 220,000 t/y Group II base oils. The refinery also features a Group I base oil plant with capacity to make 270,000 t/y and a Group III base oil plant capable to produce 30,000 t/y Group III products. 

Russian base oils are exported through the key ports of Riga and Novorossiysk on the Baltic and Black Seas.

“Base oil exports via Riga declined to 23,000 tons in July, or 65% less compared to June,” Varaksin said.  “On the contrary, the Black Sea base oil exports slightly increased from 5,560 tons in June to 7,780 tons in July, or the lowest volume recorded since 2017.”

While the base oil export through these key ports decreased, Ukraine and other ex-Soviet counties increased their land imports of Russian base oils, taking advantage of lower base oil prices. Ukraine imported by rail around 7,000 tons of Russian base oils in July, up from 4,240 tons in June and only 1,950 tons in May, DYM found.   It also said that the Lukoil and Rosneft refineries in Perm and Angarsk are the only two Russian refineries that managed to increase exports in July compared to June. Lukoil’s plant in Perm has capacity to make 480,000 t/y of Group I base oil, while Rosneft’s Angarsk refinery has capacity to make 230,000 of Group I base oil.

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