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Russian Gasoline Exports Up in 2023 Despite Sanctions

Tank wagons with gasoline. AVSVEK (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Russian oil companies have exported 37% more gasoline so far this year despite Western sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the Kommersant business daily reported Friday.

January-May 2023 gasoline exports from Russia neared 2.5 million tons, the publication said, citing an unidentified source familiar with the data.

Russia exported about 2 million tons of gasoline in January-March, up from around 1.5 million tons in the first quarter of 2022.

The boost came ahead of Russia's plans to halve subsidies to oil refineries from July to rein in its higher-than-forecast budget deficit.

But with gas price increases and shortages on the domestic market, Russian authorities were also considering banning gasoline exports altogether, Reuters reported last month.

According to Kommersant, Russia’s gasoline exports dropped almost fourfold to 2,800 tons per day in the first week of June to address the two issues.

Still, year-on-year shipments to the domestic market dropped by 8% despite a 2% production boost.

Russian refineries are estimated to currently hold 1.9 million tons of motor fuel.

The United States, the European Union, Australia and the G7 set a $100 per barrel price cap on oil products including gasoline in early February.

The ban forced Russia, which previously exported 2.5 million tons of gasoline every year to Europe, to reroute exports to other continents including Africa.

Africa imported a record 812,000 tons of Russian gasoline — about one-third of Russia’s total exports — over the same period.

Nigeria imported 488,000 tons of Russian gasoline in January-March, a more than 1,000% increase from the same time in 2022.

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