More and more oil tankers are turning off identification systems to transfer Russian oil undetected. So that there is no trace of the transaction, European countries pay in yuan (Chinese currency), probably through India, the oil that Europe does not want to buy to damage Moscow’s economy.
India has increased its imports of Russian oil in recent months as Europe seeks to reduce its energy dependence on Russia. Rising Indian imports raise suspicion that India is buying Russian oil at a discount to ship to Europe.
In May, India imported around 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Russia. The Fitch agency predicts that this figure could quickly reach one million barrels a day, 20% of total Indian imports.
Sources quoted by the British newspaper The Guardian admit that it is very difficult to monitor Russian oil shipments arriving in Europe via India. This is because oil tankers resort to various tactics to make themselves invisible and transactions are carried out in a way that does not arouse suspicion.
Financially, this concealment is done by paying Russian oil in yuan. Exchanges of Chinese currency and Russian rubles have risen sharply since February, when Russia began its onslaught in Ukraine. China has not taken a stand against the offensive and has not expressed opposition to long-time ally Moscow.
As an alternative to using the yuan, sellers are trading Russian oil for goods like gold, food or even weapons.
There has also been an increase in cargo transfers between vessels, which raises suspicion that oil is being transferred from Russian tankers to ships flying the flags of other countries.
More and more oil tankers are turning off identification systems as oil is transferred in offshore operations.
Greece, Cyprus or Malta have also doubled the amount of Russian oil they have been sending since the war started. Russian oil products are likely running out in the United States.
“Indian refiners are clearly receiving significant volumes of Russian crude at a discount and re-exporting the refined product out of the country,” Craig Howie, an analyst at Shore Capital, a UK-based financial services firm, told the Guardian.
“The commercial rationale here is naturally understandable, but it seems to run counter to the West’s clear objective of hampering the Russian economy and the war machine,” adds the analyst.
With the war in Ukraine, Russian oil tankers transporting crude oil and petroleum products are increasingly disappearing from monitoring systems: the clandestine activity of Russian-linked oil tankers has increased by 600% compared to what happened before the start of the war. .
Most of these transfers take place in waters where the risk of oil spills is drastically reduced. The exchanges used to take place off the coast of Denmark but have recently been observed in the Mediterranean Sea north of Ceuta in Spain or in the North Sea near Rotterdan in the Netherlands. More recently, they have been identified almost in Portuguese waters, near the Azores.
Following the invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission approved at the end of May an embargo on Russian oil, which provides for the cut of 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said the move was “politically motivated, not economically” and would affect European consumers first.
The Kremlin spokesman even underlined that if demand decreases in some places, it will increase in others, so Russia will never sell oil “at a loss”.
(Posted by Carolina Farias)
Source: CNN Brasil