FT: Russia anonymously bought more than 100 tankers in past year, intends to use them to bypass oil sanctions

Russia has directly and indirectly purchased more than 100 tankers in the last year, the Financial Times reports citing brokers and analysts.

Experts note that the number of anonymous or unnamed buyers repeatedly placing orders on the market has grown significantly in the last several months. They generally get their hands on vessels that have been in operation for 12-15 years and will have to be scrapped within the next few years, says Anoop Singh, chief of tanker research at Braemar.

“These are buyers that we, as longstanding brokers, are not familiar with. We are confident that the majority of these vessels are destined for Russia,” Singh notes.

Rystad, an energy consultancy, claims that Russia has bought 103 tankers in total via purchases and reallocation of vessels that service Iran and Venezuela, two countries targeted by oil embargoes.

The Financial Times stresses that Russia is seeking to establish a “shadow fleet” out of these tankers to bypass the ban on seaborne deliveries of oil which will enter into force on 5 December as well as the oil price cap.

Moscow intends to use its “shadow fleet” to supply oil to India, Turkey, and China who have emerged as the largest buyers of the Russian crude, journalists write.

Earlier on 3 December, G7 (Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Canada, Japan, and the US) and Australia agreed to introduce a price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil at $60 per barrel. The measure will come into force on 5 December or shortly after.

After this date, buyers of Russian oil who purchase it for more than $60 per barrel will be cut off from many services linked to seaborne crude transportation, including marine insurance and trade financing.

On 2 December, the European Council adopted a similar decision. The price cap will be regularly reviewed starting on 15 January so that it always stays at least 5% lower than the average market price.

The Kremlin earlier said that Russia would not trade oil with the countries that impose a price cap. “Russia will not act against common sense and pay for others’ prosperity. We will not supply energy resources to the country that will cap prices for them,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Editor in chief — Kirill Martynov. Terms of use. Privacy policy.