By Tsvetana Paraskova of OilPrice.com
Russia's crude oil exports by sea plunged last week, the most since December 2022, to below 3 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest level in eight weeks, tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg showed on Tuesday.
In the week to April 7, crude oil shipments from Russia's export terminals plummeted by 1.24 million bpd, to an eight-week low of 2.89 million bpd, according to the data cited by Bloomberg's Julian Lee.
The drop in crude oil exports, the steepest decline since storms affected loadings at ports in December, suggests that Russia's production cuts may have started to affect its crude shipments.
Still, a four-week average measure of exports showed that total Russian crude oil shipments fell by 108,000 bpd to 3.34 million bpd for the four weeks to April 7, per the data compiled by Bloomberg.
Before last week, Russia's crude oil exports by sea had held above the 3 million bpd mark for weeks, even after the EU ban on fuel imports from Russia took effect and after Moscow said it would lower its production by 500,000 bpd.
This week, Russia claimed it had cut its production by 700,000 bpd last month, more than the 500,000 bpd pledged earlier this year.
As several OPEC+ members announced in early April that they would make additional voluntary cuts in their output between May and December this year, Russia extended the 500,000 bpd cut until the end of 2023, too.
In the past four weeks, as in previous weeks, most Russian exports set off for China, India, or "unknown destinations" in Asia, which, history shows, usually means that the cargoes end up in one of the two biggest Asian importers of crude.
Russia was the single largest crude oil supplier to China in January and February, overtaking Saudi Arabia , which was the number-one oil supplier to China last year. Russia remained India's top oil supplier for a fifth consecutive month in February, beating Iraq and Saudi Arabia, India's traditional suppliers from the Middle East.