According to the Financial Times, Russia quietly bought up to 109 tankers this year to continue transporting oil from Russia in the face of sanctions. According to analysts, Moscow will need a “staggering” number of ships to maintain past export volumes. The government should have taken care of that. With the help of more than 100 tankers, Russia will continue to supply India, China and Turkey.
The tankers purchased were generally 12 to 15 years old. The ships are said to have been bought for Russia this year either directly or through intermediaries. The majority of these were anonymous or previously unknown buyers with whom the brokers were not yet familiar.
Russia-linked operators are said to have bought up to 29 supertankers this year, each capable of transporting more than two million barrels of oil. According to brokers, 31 Suezmax tankers, each capable of transporting about 1 million barrels, and 49 Aframax tankers, each capable of transporting about 700,000 barrels, have been purchased.
A large number of transactions with unidentified buyers have also been observed at the Harvard Davis Center, a center for Russian and Eurasian studies at Harvard University, in recent months. Craig Kennedy, an expert there on Russian oil, noted that many ships “land in Russia” a few weeks after being sold.
According to analysts and brokers, the purchase of ships for Russia’s “shadow fleet” will mitigate the effects of Western sanctions but will not completely solve Moscow’s oil export problems.
Russian oil shortages will range from 700,000 to 1.5 million barrels a day, according to broker Braemar. Rystad assumes that Russia will be short of 60-70 tankers and that exports by sea will fall by about 200 thousand barrels a day. “Russia needs more than 240 tankers to maintain current export flows,” says Rystad analyst Viktor Kurilov.