As EU oil ban approaches, a Russian tanker checks Arctic path to China

The tanker Vasily Dinkov has sailed from Murmansk to the Chinese language port of Rizhao with a cargo of oil. (ABB file picture through The Unbiased Barents Observer)

An oil tanker that usually shuttles between Lukoil’s far northern oil terminal of Varandey and Murmansk this week sailed into the Yellow Sea and made port name within the city of Rizhao.

It was voyage of greater than 11,000 kilometers and nearly 1.5 months at sea. In line with delivery information, the tanker set out from Murmansk on October 5. It was because of moor within the port of Rizhao on Friday.

The ship, owned and operated by Russian delivery firm Sovcomflot,has high ice-class Arc6 and is designed for crusing below tough Arctic situations.

However it’s prone to be first time that the tanker makes this type of shipments.

The voyage of the Vasily Dinkov comes solely few days earlier than the EU introduces its oil ban on Russia. In line with the Fee’s sixth package deal of sanctions, adopted in June this yr,  all buy, import or switch of crude oil and sure petroleum merchandise from Russia to the EU shall be prohibited from December 5.

The embargo creates severe troubles for the Russian oil trade, which has the EU as its most vital market. Penalties shall be dire additionally within the Russian Arctic the place corporations like Lukoil, Gazprom Neft and Rosneft all have massive fields and vital export infrastructure.

In line with Russia’s third greatest oil firm Gazprom Neft, Arctic fields now account for greater than 30 p.c of its whole manufacturing. In 2020, manufacturing on the firm’s Novy Port mission elevated 5 p.c to a complete of 14.89 million tons, and the offshore mission Prirazlomnoye delivered 3.27 million tons, a rise of three p.c year-on-year. As well as, oil from Lukoil’s Varandey terminal is predicted to succeed in greater than 6 million tons in 2022.

With the upcoming ban, Russian oil dangers getting caught within the home market. Alternatively, new markets should be opened.

In line with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak, a bigger share of Russia’s hydrocarbons should now be exported to Asian international locations, and he argues that the Northern Sea Route shall be essential for logistics.

“With the brand new and unprecedented stress on Russian financial system from Western international locations, the importance of the Northern Sea Route as a marine transport artery […] is manyfold elevated,” Novak mentioned in a authorities assembly in October.

“Our process is to develop this artery in a scientific method,” the high-ranking official underlined.

Nonetheless, the excessive ambitions however, the Arctic commerce route is roofed by thick ice for a number of months yearly and delivery is just potential with escort of highly effective icebreakers.

In November 2021, greater than 20 ships acquired caught within the distant space following a fast and early freeze of the waters. And this yr seems no higher. Ice maps present that giant elements of the Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea already in early November had been coated by thick multi-year layers of sea ice.