Tankers newly sanctioned by U.S. supplied Russian oil to India

Tankers newly sanctioned by U.S. supplied Russian oil to India

MRC -- Three oil tankers, newly sanctioned by Washington, regularly shipped Sokol crude from Russia's Far East to Indian Oil Corp, the country's top refiner, in recent months, according to shiptracking data from LSEG, Kpler and trade sources, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The U.S. on Thursday imposed sanctions on maritime companies and vessels for shipping Russian oil sold above the Group of Seven's price cap, as Washington seeks to close loopholes in the mechanism designed to punish Moscow for its war in Ukraine.

The Liberian-flagged ships hit with sanctions are the Kazan, Ligovsky Prospect and NS Century, according to the Treasury Department. All three Aframax-sized tankers discharged Russian Sokol crude in India in September while two of them made the trip in October, the data showed.

In the short-term, sanctions may reduce the number of ships carrying Russian oil and prompt India to seek supplies elsewhere, but they are unlikely to stop the trade altogether due to its lucrative nature, several traders who declined to be named, said.

As long as there are willing buyers, sellers and shippers will always find a way to make the oil flow, one trader said. One trader also said India may seek supply from the Mediterranean and North Sea to replace Russian Sokol.

NS Century is currently on its way to discharge Sokol crude at Vadinar port in Gujarat for Indian Oil Corp (IOC) on Nov. 25, LSEG and Kpler data showed. IOC buys Sokol under an annual contract with Russian oil major Rosneft. A spike in global prices led to Russian oil being sold at above the price caps imposed by western nations of $60 a barrel.

The three vessels last year obtained safety certification from the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), according to its website. Ligovsky Prospect and Kazan, managed by Oil Tanker (SCF) Management-FZCO, were certified on Sept. 14, and May 7 last year, according to IRClass website. NS Century, managed by Dubai-based Sun Ship management (D) Ltd was certified on Sept. 15, 2022.

Societies such as London-headquartered Lloyd's Register, the American Bureau of Shipping and IRClass provide services, such as seaworthiness checks and certification, which are vital for securing insurance and entry to ports.

IOC and IRClass did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sokol crude is produced at the Sakhalin-1 project, managed by a Rosneft subsidiary after the exit of ExxonMobil.

Prior to sanctions and restructuring of the project's ownership, India's ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm of state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp, and Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co (SODECO), a consortium of Japanese firms had a stake in the project.

We remind, Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined. It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons.

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Russia lifts gasoline export ban - energy ministry

Russia lifts gasoline export ban - energy ministry

MRC -- Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined, said Reuters.

It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons. "Over the past two months, while maintaining high volumes of oil refining ... , saturation of the domestic market has been ensured and a surplus in the supply of motor gasoline has been created, including in the exchange sales channel," the ministry said on Friday.

"A decision was made to terminate the temporary ban on the export of motor gasoline." Russia, the world's top seaborne exporter of diesel, introduced a ban on fuel exports on Sept. 21 in order to tackle high domestic prices and shortages. Only four ex-Soviet states - Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan - were exempt.

The government eased restrictions on Oct. 6, allowing the export of diesel by pipeline, but kept measures on gasoline exports in place. Overseas supplies of diesel and other fuels by truck and railway also remained prohibited at the time.

The scrapping of the ban might complicate Russia's efforts to reduce its oil and petroleum product exports by 300,000 barrels per day until the end of the year, compared with the average level seen in May and June. Russia has, however, confirmed that it will continue its additional voluntary supply cut until the end of December, as previously announced in coordination with the OPEC+ group of exporters.

Diesel is Russia's biggest oil product export, at about 35 million metric tons last year. Almost three-quarters of that was transported via pipeline. Russia also exported 4.8 million tons of gasoline in 2022. Industry sources had told Reuters that the government was poised to scrap the remaining restrictions in mid-November.

Officials had said the ban would be lifted once the domestic market stabilized. Analysts had expected the restrictions to be scrapped after completion of the grain harvest.

We remind, Russian fuel producers have been told by the government to prepare for the scrapping of all remaining restrictions on the export of diesel and gasoline. Russia, the world's top seaborne exporter of diesel, introduced a ban on fuel exports on Sept. 21 to tackle high domestic prices and shortages.

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Venezuelan natural gas cooperation could lead to increased LNG and petrochemical exports

Venezuelan natural gas cooperation could lead to increased LNG and petrochemical exports

MRC -- Venezuela is close to approving a license for Shell and the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago to develop a promising offshore natural gas field and export its production to the Caribbean country, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The license could set in motion a long-running effort by Trinidad to boost its gas processing and petrochemical exports, while providing Venezuela with a much-needed extra source of cash. The two countries aim to speed cross-border energy development since the U.S. in January issued a two-year authorization allowing the field's development.

Venezuela, which holds Latin America's biggest gas reserves, and neighboring Trinidad, the region's largest LNG exporter, would complement each other's needs to produce and export gas. Both nations are discussing a 25-yr exploration and production license for the Dragon field, which holds up to 4.2 Tcf of gas and lies in Venezuelan waters near the maritime border between the two countries.

Some terms are still to be settled, but if all goes well a deal could be signed in coming days, the people said. Shell would operate the project with a 70% stake and Trinidad's NGC would hold the remaining 30% under proposed terms, the people said.

Venezuela's state-run oil firm PDVSA, which discovered Dragon's reserves and paid for existing infrastructure, would not have a stake in the project, but Venezuela would receive cash or a portion of gas production as royalties. In 2013, PDVSA finished testing gas output at Dragon, but the field has never been commercially active due to the company's lack of capital and, more recently, U.S sanctions.

The U.S. last month temporarily eased sanctions on Venezuela and amended the authorization for Dragon, allowing Caracas to receive proceeds from gas sales. Since then, negotiations have moved faster, a third person said. Trinidad's Energy Minister Stuart Young in early October said the parties had begun price negotiations for Dragon's gas.

Shell declined immediate comment. NGC referred questions on the talks to Trinidad's energy ministry. The ministry, PDVSA, and Venezuela's oil ministry did not reply to requests for comment.

We remind, Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined. It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons.

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GS Caltex sells its first bio-marine gasoil bunker in Singapore

MRC -- GS Caltex Singapore Pte Ltd said on Monday it has sold its first cargo of biofuel-blended marine gasoil to Maersk Oil Trading (MOT) at the world's largest bunker hub Singapore as it seeks to expand into lower carbon fuels, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The sale by the Singapore-based trading arm of South Korea's second-largest refiner is part of GS Caltex's plans by to expand its biofuels supply chain overseas. More of such biofuel bunkering trials are taking place at key global maritime hubs this year as the shipping industry tests new and cleaner fuels in a bid to reduce emissions.

GS Caltex said it delivered 1,000 metric tons of marine gasoil blended with 24% of Used Cooking Oil Methyl Ester (UCOME) to MOT's bunker barge on an ex-wharf basis on Nov. 8. MOT has since delivered the fuel, also known as B24 or bio-MGO, to its container ships at Tanjung Pelapas in Malaysia, it added.

GS Caltex leased 10,000 m3 of biofuel storage tanks at Jurong Port Universal Terminal earlier this year to facilitate the blending of bio-MGO, the company said. UCOME was blended with 0.1% MGO to produce the biofuel for ships, it added.

The UCOME, sourced from Malaysia, is certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), GS Caltex said, while gasoil components are sourced from its refinery in South Korea and other Asian countries and blended at the terminal.

GS Caltex is the top MGO seller in Singapore with sales volumes averaging at 120,000 tpm (tons per month) this year, accounting for more than 40% of MGO ex-wharf sales at the hub, the company said. MGO is used to fuel ships calling at Emissions Control Areas (ECAs) in Europe and the United States which have stricter sulphur-emission limits.

The company is looking to ramp up its supply of bio-blended MGO, which remains a rare blend for bunkering in Singapore as most trials so far have involved marine fuel blends derived from mixing biofuel with fuel oil instead of gasoil.

Singapore's total sales for biofuel-blended marine fuels have exceeded 300,000 tons in 2023 so far, more than double from 2022's total volume, data from the Singapore Maritime and Port Authority showed. The data has yet to record any sale of bio-MGO bunker in Singapore.

We remind, Russia has lifted restrictions on gasoline exports, the energy ministry said on Friday, after scrapping most restrictions on exports of diesel last month, saying there was a surplus of supply while wholesale prices had declined. It said it could reimpose export bans if necessary, adding that stocks of gasoline had risen to around 2 million metric tons.

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Exxon Mobil to construct a green petchem refinery in Indonesia with $15 B budget

Exxon Mobil to construct a green petchem refinery in Indonesia with $15 B budget

MRC -- Exxon Mobil is set to make a significant investment of up to $15 B in Indonesia for a green petrochemical refinery and carbon capture storage facility, as announced by President Joko Widodo, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The projects, designed to substantially reduce Indonesia's carbon emissions, were discussed during a meeting between Jokowi and Exxon Mobil's chairman.

Jokowi expressed appreciation for the cooperation and underscored the importance of Exxon's CCS facility, anticipated to be the largest in Southeast Asia, and the advanced nature of the petrochemical complex.

Additionally, Jokowi invited Exxon Mobil to participate in developing Indonesia's renewable energy and green infrastructure, including the ambitious Nusantara capital project.

Indonesia plans to cover 80 percent of the estimated $33 B Nusantara project cost through public-private partnerships, with the remaining 20 percent from the state budget. The United States ranks as the fifth-largest foreign investor in Indonesia, with a total investment of $2.4 B in the first nine months of 2023.

We remind, ExxonMobil is planning to invest up to $15bn in a greenfield petrochemical project as well as new carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities in Indonesia. The Indonesian government earlier this week signed an agreement with ExxonMobil to study the possibility of the petrochemical project which would include polymer production units.

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