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Europe’s refineries increase Russian crude purchases

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Europe’s refineries took in an increasing amount of crude oil last week, tanker tracking data compiled by Bloomberg has shown.

Europe’s refineries took in 1.84 million barrels per day of Russian crude oil last week—the third increase in the amount of Russian crude for the refineries in as many weeks.

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The oil flows from Russia to Europe, including to Turkey, are now the highest they’ve been in nearly two months.

The increases mainly came from Russia’s Litasco SA—the trading arm of Lukoil—and Turkey. Lukoil boasts three refineries in Europe—in Italy, Romania, and Bulgaria—and they continue to step up their purchases of Russian crude oil.

While the rest of Europe may not be increasing its imports of Russian crude oil—the decreases have definitely slowed, the Bloomberg analysis revealed.

The EU agreed to embargo 90% of all of its oil imports from Russia by the end of the year—but perhaps the most damaging aspect of the European Union’s attempt to hit Russia where it hurts—through its oil revenues—comes in the form of an insurance ban. Under the ban—which the UK also signed onto–EU operators will not be allowed to insure or finance the marine transportation of Russian crude oil to other countries. This would cripple Russia’s ability to export crude oil anywhere in the world, according to analysts.

Russia, however, said it would provide state assurance under Russia’s trade agreement with other countries, insulating itself from any ban that the EU and UK could cook up.

However, most of the world’s ports do not allow tankers to dock unless they carry full-coverage insurance.

Russia continues to ship large amounts of Russian crude to China and India as well, with overall Russian revenues from export duty rising 6% last week.

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