Ukraine, hostility on the rise in Kherson: evacuations in progress

According to the Financial Times, Russia is setting up a ‘shadow fleet’ of oil tankers to circumvent the sanctions

I’m evacuation operations in Kherson are underway from today to Monday, from the left bank of the Dnpr river, where an intensification of hostilities is expected. This was reported by the regional military administration, which will allow people to cross the river for travel, which was banned until yesterday.

Meanwhile for the Financial Times Moscow is allegedly setting up a “shadow fleet” to circumvent the restrictions on the sale of oil, which Western countries have introduced in response to the invasion of Ukraine. After the sanctions take effect, Russia will need more tankers as the duration of each voyage will increase, as oil that was previously sold in Europe will be sent to new buyers in Asia, according to the FT. For the British newspaper, the creation of a “shadow fleet” will reduce the impact of the sanctions, but will not eliminate it.

Russia, which relies heavily on foreign tankers to transport oil, has built a fleet of more than 100 obsolete tankers, according to shipping broker Braemar. Energy consultancy Rystad says Russia added 103 tankers to its oil supply chain in 2022 through the purchase and redeployment of vessels serving Iran and Venezuela, two countries subject to a Western oil embargo. The company also notes that up to 29 supertankers, known as Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), were purchased from Russian-linked operators in 2022. These are large crude tankers, each capable of carrying more than 2 million barrels .

Russia is also believed to have added to its fleet 31 Suezmax-sized tankers, each capable of carrying about 1 million barrels, and 49 Aframax tankers, each capable of carrying about 700,000 barrels. According to analysts, Russia will still experience a shortage of tankers and in the first months of 2023 may face difficulties in maintaining the level of exports, which will lead to an increase in prices. Russia needs more than 240 tankers to maintain current export volumes.