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OPIS: Russia’s shipments of diesel to Europe surged 55% in first eight months of 2014

Satellite tracking of oil cargoes by market reporting group OPIS shows that Europe’s dependence on Russia for road fuels in the 28 member countries has deepened significantly. Diesel imports from Russia are at a record in the first eight months of 2014, with Germany the most reliant, followed by France, and then the UK. Ultra-low-sulphur diesel exported from Russia to Europe surged 55% from January to August, compared to the same period last year, displacing India as the second-largest importer after the US.

The increase signals a fundamental shift in how Europe meets a rising deficit in the motor transport fuel, OPIS commented.

Russia exported around 10.3 million metric tons to Europe from 1 January to 31 August this year, according to data compiled by OPIS from European Commission (Eurostat) trade data and satellite tracking of vessels. Volumes compare to 6.7 million tons shipped to the continent and UK from January to August in 2013, based on EU trade data.

Some 3.61 million tons of Russian ULSD came into Europe aboard 127 vessels from June to August, mainly from the port of Primorsk, according to the OPIS Europe Diesel Tanker Tracker.

Eurostat shows that 3.92 million tons of ULSD was imported into the 28 member countries from Russia between January and March this year, the highest quarterly total in data going back to 1988.

The significant increase reflects the modernization of Russian refineries, with diesel exports forecast to rise to 27 million tons a year by 2017, from 17 million tons in 2012, based on estimates from Rosneft, the country’s biggest oil producer.

OPIS arrived at its calculations by adding Eurostat trade figures for January to May, the most recent available, to data collated from the OPIS Tanker Tracker in June, July and August.

Russia’s Lukoil is the biggest supplier of ULSD to Europe, supplying just over a quarter of all the middle distillate (some 942,000 tons or around 7 million barrels) shipped to the region. Surgutneftegas was the second-largest (576,000 tons), followed by Gazprom Neft (532,000 tons).

Europe’s demand for ULSD is rising: net middle distillate import requirements for the region are forecast to grow to 1.6 million b/d by 2019, from just over 1 million b/d in 2013, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its Medium-Term Market Report 2014, released in June.



Given the price of fuel in Europe is already high, it's doubtful that adding further taxes is going to significantly drop demand. Europe is the ideal test-bed for large-scale vehicle electrification and hybridisation - relatively short distances, dense infrastructure, multiple other transport options - and such a policy should be a key focus for the EU. Reducing the dependency on Russia and its resources would be a fillip for the environment and for the economies of Europe.


So theres a worldwide glut of diesel? Even ULSD?


Vladimir Putin needs to tie the West to him so he can pull off stunts like what he's doing in Ukraine without too much fallout. Having Europe dependent on Russia for fuel is one way to do that.


That may be the time for EU to wean itself from gasoline, diesel oil and NG.

Accelerated transition to FCs, Hybrid and Electric vehicles together with the installation of very large wind turbines and many more solar panels could be part of the solution.

Producing more bio-fuel is not the best solution.

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