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Saudi Imports Of Russian Oil

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is importing soaring quantities of discounted Russian oil to meet summer cooling demands and free up the kingdom’s crude for export.

Saudi Arabian Flag suretianto, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>
Saudi Arabian flag, photo by: Masrouf
Saudi Imports of Russian Oil infographic by Duncan mil
Infographic by Duncan Mil

Russia has been selling fuel at knock-down prices after international sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. However, Riyadh has maintained its cooperation with Moscow in the alliance of global producers known as OPEC+.

According to the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), Saudi Aramco has signed a contract with the Litasco trading arm of Russia’s Lukoil which will see it take regular delivery of cargoes of Russian high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) throughout 2022.

The kingdom imported 251,000 barrels per day (b/d) of fuel oil in June, according to trade flows from data intelligence firm Kpler. Imports are at the highest since April 2021, when Saudi Arabia imported 277,000b/d.

MEES reported that 203,000b/d came from three facilities that have taken large volumes of Russian oil recently for re-export. Tallinn in Estonia, Ain Sukhna in Egypt and Fujairah in the UAE. Saudi Arabia took 13,000b/d directly from Russia, for a total of 216,000b/d, or 86.1 percent of total imports.

Saudi fuel imports from Egypt spiked to a record 86,000bpd in June, followed by the United Arab Emirates at 64,000b/d, while Estonia followed with 53,000b/d.

“There are no international sanctions prohibiting such trades, and Saudi Arabia has made it clear that it continues to prioritize its relations with Moscow,” MEES said.