A shift in crude oil trade flows is in full swing these days, with Russian oil heading eastwards and a flurry of other countries exporting their oil to the EU, in order to cover the region’s needs, ahead of a difficult winter season. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies agreed on a 100,000 b/d output cut last week, oil flows are in the spotlight amid concerns about declining oil prices, the recovery of China’s demand, and a possible deal with Iran. US crude exports from USG surged 13.5% m-o-m at 3.626m b/d in August, marking a record year to date. The main importer of US crude oil was Europe with an increase in imports of 17% m-o-m at 49m barrels. Asia’s imports surged 27% m-o-m at 47m barrels, with Asia using 70% of the total 33 supertankers used to export US crude. Brazilian crude exports surged at 1,202m b/d, hitting a 3-month high, on the back of demand recovery from Europe and China. Exports to China increased 10% m-o-m, while exports to Europe surged by 32% m-o-m. However, exports to the US fell by 67%. Flows from the North Sea to Europe remained elevated, with a total of 98% of cargoes received by EU countries. North Sea total output for the month of August reached 1.86m b/d, flat m-o-m”, the shipbroker said.
According to Ms. Chara Georgousi, Research Analyst with Intermodal, “Kuwait crude exports marked a 5-month high in August, increasing 3% m-o-m at 2.811m b/d, while planning to further increase its output in September at 2.818m b/d. Exports to India fell to their lowest since June 2020 in August. Deliveries to China fell to the lowest year to date at 468k b/d, but adding shipments to China via Myanmar, they increased by 6.4% at 532k b/d. Flows to Egypt marked a 9-month high, while flows to the US also increased. Meanwhile, exports to Vietnam remained stable and exports to Japan decreased marginally. Saudi crude exports surged 10.8% m-o-m at 7.6m b/d on the back of increased flows to China and Egypt. Qatar’s August oil exports edged marginally higher at 896k b/d in August from 892k b/d in July, underpinned by higher flows to Japan which jumped to the highest since February. Flows to Singapore and UAE also increased, while exports to China fell to the lowest since November 2020, and exports to India decreased m-o-m. Crude and condensate exports from UAE slipped by 2% from a 5-year high in July to 3.645m b/d, due to a short-time halt in Fujairah exports following heavy rainfalls and floodings paired with a decline in China-bound flows. While exports to China, South Korea, and Taiwan fell during August, exports to Japan marked a record high, and exports to India also increased”.
“Venezuelan exports slumped in August mainly due to Chinese refinery cuts during the same month. Total exports reached 375k b/d, down 26% m-o-m. Flows to China decreased 19% m-o-m ahead of simultaneous maintenance in many teapot refineries, while export to Cuba slumped 49% m-o-m due to a fire at a fuel depot which disrupted flows. Iraq’s crude exports plunged to a 4-year low at 3.62m b/d in August from 3.70m b/d in July. Exports to Europe fell almost 50% m-o-m, albeit higher than the 3-month average before Russia’s invasion. Shipments to China surged 27.8% m-o-m, while shipments to India edged 8.9% higher m-o-m. Iraq has been competing with discounted Russian barrels and while China and India have been snapping Russian cargoes, European buyers are shunning barrels from Iraq. Libyan exports jumped to a 5-month high at 931k b/d in August, +58% m-o-m. Exports were buoyed by the assignment of a new chairman at the NOC, however, clashes in Tripoli in late August raise doubts about the country’s oil exports recovery”, Intermodal’s analyst said.
Ms. Georgousi concluded that “West Africa’s August exports fell by 1.7% m-o-m to 3.15m b/d, due to ongoing thefts in Nigeria. Nigerian exports fell below Angolan for a second time during the last 3 months. Angolan exports were marginally higher m-o-m. While exports to China and Europe increased by 43% m-o-m and 1.08% m-o-m respectively, exports to the US edged marginally lower for the same period”.