Russia and FSU – Apr / May 2019

Published at 09:46 3 Jun 2019 by . Last edited 11:18 22 Aug 2019.

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Russian oil production fell m/m by 0.12 mb/d to 11.11 mb/d in May (+0.14 mb/d y/y), to below the December 2018 OPEC+ target of 11.19 mb/d. The drop was due to the closure of the Druzhba pipe following the discovery of organic chloride in the oil there since early April. The pace of production decline accelerated towards end-May as storage along the pipe is now full.

Russian crude exports fell m/m by 0.47 mb/d in May to 4.77 mb/d despite peak refinery works, as the entire Druzhba pipeline remained shut for the month. Only partial flows on the southern leg of the pipeline started last week, with a restart of the northern leg still months away. Seaborne exports rose m/m but 8 mb of oil from Ust-Luga remains unsold due to high content of organic chloride. Seaborne crude exports are set to dip by around 3% m/m to 2.43 mb/d in June, but could come in lower following cargo cancellations by Gazprom Neft due to output shut-ins and as clean oil has to be diverted to Belarus once that section of the pipe starts.

Kazakhstan’s output in April fell sharply m/m by 0.23 mb/d to 1.6 mb/d (also down y/y by 0.23 mb/d), the steepest fall since August 2016. Maintenance at Kashagan, which was offline for half of April through 20 May, was the culprit. Within a week, Kashagan had ramped back up and we expect output to rise to pre-maintenance levels this month. Azerbaijan’s crude output in April fell y/y by a hefty 0.1 mb/d to 0.68 mb/d (-0.12 mb/d m/m), driven by planned maintenance at BP’s Central Azeri platform. BP also announced maintenance on the ACG Western Chirag platform in October. Much like Kazakhstan, we expect Azeri output to have recovered from May.

FSU demand rose by 60 thousand b/d y/y to 4.65 mb/d in April, with Russian demand coming in strong. Final Russian data show demand higher y/y by 12 mb/d in March following 0.22 mb/d growth in February, led by fuel oil, naphtha and other oils.

FSU runs fell m/m by 0.18 mb/d to 6.3 mb/d in April (-0.15 mb/d y/y). While planned offline CDU capacity was lower y/y by 0.26 mb/d at 0.8 mb/d, an increase in unplanned works weighed on runs growth. Russian runs fell m/m by 0.18 mb/d to 5.32 mb/d (-0.15 mb/d y/y).

ULSD loadings from Russia’s Baltic port of Primorsk recovered to 0.99 Mt following a sharp decline to 0.88 Mt in May. Nonetheless, even in June, loadings are scheduled to be lower y/y, despite refineries returning from maintenance due to the Antipinsky bankruptcy. Operator New Stream’s refining operations have been plagued by financial issues, which have resulted in multiple interruptions to crude supplied to its three Russian refineries, including the 0.12 mb/d Afipsky and the 32 thousand b/d Mari-El refineries.

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