A secret fleet, untraceable operators, and omissions have helped Russia’s oil trade flow despite Western sanctions over the past 18 months.
After 18 months in the war with Ukraine, the effect of Western sanctions on the Russian economy is fading, especially on the income of the federal budget from oil, writes Euronews.
The country has found ways to circumvent Western sanctions that have imposed a $60 price ceiling on a barrel of Russian offshore Ural oil in global trade.
The country has developed methods that “make it impossible to monitor trade,” Christopher Weafer, chief executive of business consultancy Macro-Advisory Ltd, told Euronews Business.
Maritime oil trade is traditionally handled by large oil companies and department stores that adhere to Western sanctions.
Over the past year, they have been gradually replaced by little-known trading companies with no history in the business, which emerged and exported large volumes of Russian crude oil to Asia, then quickly shut down.
A shadow tanker fleet has also appeared on the global market, consisting of hundreds of small tanker operators who own only one or two tankers. These are usually old ships, which pose a lot of security risks, sailing under the flag of countries like Liberia or Cameroon.
“It’s a huge game of hiding tanker traffic, hiding volumes. If the authorities in Europe identify a company or a tanker that violates sanctions, the name of that company and even the name of the tanker change pretty quickly,” Weafer pointed out, Klix.ba reports.