Russian Base Oils Rebound

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Russian Base Oils Rebound
Russia’s base oil shipments are primarily done by rail and river. © Sergei Butorin

Russian base oil production increased by 14% in the first nine months of 2021, driven by higher demand at home and abroad, and representing a partial rebound from the very low demand observed in 2020, according to a market report. The country’s base oil exports also increased.

While in the pandemic-ridden first nine months of 2020, Russia produced 943,000 tons of base oil, compared with 1.1 million tons for the same period this year, a 14% increase, said B2X, a Moscow-based consultancy.

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The best results, both in production and exports, have been observed in September 2021.

“In September, we recorded 131,000 tons of produced base oils, a 39% increase compared to the same month in 2020,” B2X said in its latest Lubricants Review, a report on the Russian lubricants industry.

The report quotes data from state statistics and other agencies.

In the first nine months of 2021, Russian base oil exports reached 871,000 tons, according to DYM Resources, a Berlin-based base oil and commodities trading company. The company records Russia’s rail and river base oil shipments abroad, which is the primary mode of movement of this commodity in and out of the country.

“After a 12% decrease in July, Russian base oil exports increased by 20% in August,” Denis Varaksin, DYM’s senior manager, told Lube Report. “The July decrease was caused by the falling demand in the export destinations and higher domestic finished product prices.”  

Base oil exports from Russia kept increasing in September when the domestic producers shipped 108,000 tons of base oil, up 21% compared to August.

“It’s the highest number since March this year and almost twice as much as in September 2020, driven by ” he said.

DYM found that in September, the Russian oil major Lukoil’s base oil river exports from Volgograd increased by 25% from the August volumes. Total base oil exports from Volgograd in August were 25,000 tons, the company found.  

After a 65% drop in August, compared to July, the exports from Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea, grew to 19,000 tons in September from 7,000 tons in August. Lukoil operates a base oils terminal in Kaliningrad and it is the only oil major present there with this product, Varaksin said.

Base oil exports to Riga, another major port on Latvia’s Baltic Sea coast, however, halved to 17,000 tons in September, compared to August, because of decreased loadings from the Rosneft, Gazprom Neft and Tatneft refineries.  Base oil exports from the Russian Black Sea ports slightly decreased in September, dropping 10%, compared to August, DYM found.

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