Dry CargoEuropeGasTankers

Russia shifts its commodities attention to Asia

Oil prices are increasing, and diesel becoming costlier, as Russia moves to cut off natural gas supplies to two neighbouring European countries, Poland and Bulgaria, in the latest shift of the global commodities map in the wake of the war in eastern Europe.

Poland typically depends on Russian gas for two-thirds of its supplies while Bulgaria is even more exposed, normally getting 90% of supplies from Russia, according to data from Lorentzen & Co. Both nations have been busy sourcing new supplies over the past month including fixing floating LNG terminals.

Data focused on Russian energy exports shows how much is now shifting east to Asia.

A count of voyages originating from Russia for the global tanker and dry bulk fleets, as tracked by shipping platform Sea/, shows the number of laden voyages took a dip around the end of February when the invasion of Ukraine began but has been creeping up in recent weeks. Top destinations are Turkey, China, South Korea and Japan.

Similarly, data compiled by Bloomberg shows Russian crude exports rebounding in the seven days to April 22. Russia’s seaborne crude shipments up to April 22 averaged 3.2m barrels a day. In full-year 2021, they averaged 2.88m a day.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is managing to find a way to get some of its grains out of the country. Reuters reports that Ukraine has sent around 80,000 tonnes of grains to the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta via rail and also barge along the Danube with another 80,000 tonnes approved and en route.

Vessel tracking services had detected a noticeable build-up of bulk carriers off Constanta in the weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine.

In related news, international defence organisation NATO has denied requests made by shipmanager V.Group for naval escorts for commercial vessels passing through the Black Sea. The area has become highly dangerous with at least 12 ships struck by military devices in the opening two months of the war.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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