HomeMediaLatest NewsA Tanker War: why the US won't leave Sovcomflot alone

A Tanker War: why the US won't leave Sovcomflot alone

Gromov Alexey I. Principal Director on Energy Studies, Head of the Energy Department

Alexey Gromov, Principal Director on Energy studies at the Institute for Energy and Finance, commented to the Novye Izvestia newspaper on new Western sanctions against the Russian tanker fleet.

Alexey Gromov does not deny the impact of sanctions, but considers any calculations of losses to be only an estimate:

— The effect of sanctions pressure is present in the form of price discounts on Russian oil and additional losses — a periodic increase in freight rates when a particular sanctions initiative is introduced. In September, freight rates fell, and in October, when blocking sanctions were imposed, they began to rise sharply, as carriers increased sanctions risks. But I cannot quantify it. For such a calculation, reliable data is needed, which no one has.

By November 2023, Russia had closed the discount difference between Urals and Brent, which at the beginning of the conflict with Ukraine amounted to 20-30 dollars per barrel, and now does not exceed 12 dollars. This is a good indicator, Alexey Gromov believes, since until 2022 the discount was 3-5 dollars.

The growth of shadow fleet tankers increases Russia's revenues, but the cost of buying ships, the growth of freight and insurance for "no man's" tankers is also increasing. It is unclear what impact the new sanctions against Russian insurers will have on trade. In mid—June, the United Kingdom imposed a ban against Ingosstrakh, and the United States imposed a ban against Sogaz and the Russian National Reinsurance Company.

— This is an attempt by Western countries to influence the oil cargo insurance market in order to limit Russia's ability to export oil. If you do not have insurance coverage, most ports will either not accept the tanker, or you will not be able to stop for maintenance activities, because there is no necessary insurance coverage, — Alexey Gromov explains the consequences.

Gromov Alexey I. Principal Director on Energy Studies, Head of the Energy Department
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