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Current Geopolitical tensions To Shape the Tanker Market for Years to Come

Current Geopolitical tensions To Shape the Tanker Market for Years to Come

The tanker market is about to enter a new era of increased volatility to go hand-in-hand with the changes in the crude oil market as well. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Intermodal said that “amid the looming western sanctions on Russia, the country is challenged to pivot its energy markets away from Europe and toward the East. Yet, Russia has been considering exports of oil and gas from its Eastern territories to Asia-Pacific countries since the early 1970s, when the authorities recognized an opportunity to supplement the country’s West Siberian Output. Political instabilities, though, paired with uncertainty on Chinese and Japanese demand have substantially obstructed any course of action”.

 

According to Intermodal’s Research Analyst, Ms. Chara Georgousi, “pre-invasion, 60% of the country’s oil exports were directed to European countries and about 20% to China, either through pipelines or via seaborne routes, making it, thus, easier to redirect compared to gas. However, since the invasion of Ukraine and the announcement of sanctions, oil has gradually shifted towards the main Asian importers, China, and India, and to some new, albeit considerably smaller, customers, such as Sri Lanka, Egypt, and Indonesia. It is questioned, though, how effectively the country’s exports will be redirected to its emerging Asian customers”.

Georgousi added that “currently, 85% of the country’s production is clustered around West Siberia, Timan-Pechora, and the Volga Urals. As a result, exports are heavily concentrated in the Black Sea and Baltic ports, thus, trebling the voyage distance and inflating costs and freights. Due to logistic issues and insufficient infrastructure between the above regions and the country’s eastern terminals, the redirection of the country’s oil exports is challenged”.

Source: Intermodal

“The maturity of the Western fields paired with the western sanctions on oil have urged the country to increase production from its East Siberian fields. During the past decade, East Siberian oil output gradually surged to 700,000 b/d. Meanwhile, the oil output from its mature West Siberian fields is estimated to decrease by 2m b/d over the next decade. Rosneft’s new Vostok Oil Megaproject, located at the northern junction of East and West Siberia, is set to add 1.5m b/d by 2030, with a target of 2m b/d. The project also includes the construction of Bukhta Sever Port which is set to become the country’s largest oil terminal and facilitate the development of the Northern Sea Route, while it is also going to test the country’s resilience to western sanctions. Since the voyage distance via the Northern Sea Route to the Far East could save up to 20 days off the shipping time spent compared to the Suez Canal route, vessels’ tonne-miles could be almost halved. Although the North Sea Route will provide more flexibility to the shippers and facilitate the current supply chain constraints, it is expected to provide some inconvenience as well due to its operational seasonality. Arctic sea lanes are estimated to be ice-free during the summertime by 2035, according to scientists, however, the lack of predictability will continue to overweigh the savings on shipping costs and time”, Ms. Georgousi said.

Source: Intermodal

“Overall, in the mid-term and within the next five years, the global oil market will be highly volatile and fragmented. Russia will be forced to reposition itself amid the realignment of the energy markets, however, the efficiency of the country’s relationship establishment with Asian customers is yet to be witnessed”, Intermodal’s analyst concluded.
Source: Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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