Russia and FSU – Jan / Feb 2019

Published at 13:00 4 Mar 2019 by . Last edited 11:18 22 Aug 2019.

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Russian oil production eased m/m by 40 thousand b/d to 11.34 mb/d in January, higher y/y by 0.38 mb/d. Russian oil companies have recently reiterated their commitment to the OPEC+ deal and we expect Russia to reduce supply by the agreed 0.23 mb/d by end-March/early April.

Russian crude exports totalled close to 5 mb/d in February, higher m/m by 0.15 mb/d but lower y/y by 30 thousand b/d. Exports from Novorossiysk were delayed by poor weather earlier in the month, though delayed cargoes from January managed to clear at Primorsk. Exports will rise in March by 10% m/m amid heavier refinery works. Urals loadings from Primorsk and Ust-Luga are set at 6.3 Mt while Urals and Siberian light loadings from Novorossiysk are set at 2.6 Mt. Consequently, Med Urals weakened last week, flipping to discounts to Dated Brent having traded at premiums since mid-November. NWE Urals discounts to Dated also deepened.

Kazakhstan’s January output was pegged at 1.89 mb/d, higher y/y by 0.1 mb/d, with Kashagan producing at a record 0.31 mb/d. However, production will fall due to heavy maintenance: Kashagan (45 days from 14 April), Tengiz (42 days from 1 August) and Karachaganak (28 days from 15 September). This will reduce 2019 average crude and condensate output by 1.5% y/y.

Azerbaijan’s January output was stable m/m at 0.79 mb/d, broadly flat y/y, with Socar also expecting full-year production to be flat y/y. Platform-level data at the ACG complex showed steep declines at the Chirag (-10%), Chirag West (-12%) and West Azeri (-7%) in Q4 18.

FSU demand rose by 60 thousand b/d y/y to 5.39 mb/d in January, with growth slowing amidst depressed fuel oil demand amid mild winter weather. Moreover, the rise in VAT from 1 January weighed on business confidence. Final data show Russian oil demand rose by over 0.1 mb/d y/y in December, aided by a 2% y/y increase in industrial production.

FSU January runs rose m/m by 77 thousand b/d to 6.91 mb/d (+0.22 mb/d y/y). Planned CDU works fell y/y by 0.11 mb/d to 0.19 mb/d. Russian runs rose m/m to 5.9 mb/d (+0.24 mb/d y/y). In Belarus, runs were flat y/y at 0.35 mb/d, while Kazakh runs (-16 thousand b/d) fell y/y.

February ULSD exports from Primorsk were slated at 1.42 Mt, around 8% higher on a daily basis and including the very first 10 ppm volumes (30 thousand tonnes for February) from Tatneft’s Taneko refinery, which suggests the new hydrocracking complex has started. Preliminary March Primorsk loadings are set at 1.43 Mt, 8.5% lower m/m on a daily basis as refinery maintenance picks up by at least 0.1 mb/d m/m.

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