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    Russian operators commission tankers // Operation in the segment becomes too risky due to sanctions

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    In anticipation of the imposition of an EU embargo on Russian oil and oil products, Russian tanker fleet operators are withdrawing from the river-sea segment. Three of these tankers were sold by the railway operator Railgo, and the Volga Shipping Company is leaving the liquid bulk segment altogether, explaining the sale by the unprofitability of tanker transportation. Transportation “river-sea” really loses its cargo base from year to year. In addition, since December, the current scheme for transshipping oil from ships under the Russian flag to ships of third countries, which are then unloaded in EU ports, will be contrary to European sanctions. the Taganrog Tanker Fleet company, the company confirmed to Kommersant. They specified that the deal took place on April 26, the cost was not disclosed. Astrakhan Adamant LLC, which is not affiliated with the structures of Mr. Khalilov, became the new owner, the company explained. cargo: “Lady Leila”, “Lady Sevda” and “Lady Rania”. Prior to its sale, the main partners of the shipping company were LUKOIL, SOCAR and Kazmunaigas. The volume of transportation averaged 1 million tons of oil products per year.

    Railgo is one of the three largest railway operators in the Russian Federation for the transportation of bulk oil cargo, the company has 35,000 tank cars for the transportation of oil and oil products, as well as 738 chemical tank containers.

    Railgo Kommersant explained that the company plans to invest the proceeds from the deal in increasing the fleet of tanks and other projects related to transport. A source close to the company said the decision to sell was also influenced by sanctions.

    Railgo is not the only operator to get rid of its river-sea tanker fleet. On September 30, Vladimir Lisin’s Volga Shipping Company announced its exit from the liquid bulk business, which is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year. Following the five tankers sold in September, the company approved a deal to sell another eight oil tankers, saying the decision is in line with its long-term strategy to exit the oil and petroleum product segment. “Oil transportation over the past few years has been unprofitable for the Volga Shipping Company,” the company said, intending to continue to focus on the transportation of food cargo, molasses and liquid chemicals.

    Loading river-sea tankers in In recent years, it has been systematically falling, especially in the segment of oil products, where significant volumes went to the railway. Russian Railways introduced discounts for the Samara, Ufa groups of refineries and the Saratov refinery back in 2017, and in 2020 agreed with Rosneft, the main shipper of river transport, on discounts for ten years in exchange for guaranteed shipment of 237.5 million tons of oil products (see “Kommersant” dated December 10, 2020).

    Decisions to withdraw from the “river-sea” fleet are being made against the backdrop of the preparation of the EU countries to impose an embargo on the import of Russian oil by sea from December 2022 and petroleum products from March 2023. The ban will include, in particular, offshore transshipment, which is currently carried out by river-sea vessels unloading on the roadstead on a large tanker of a third country, moving on to a European port.

    As part of the sixth package of sanctions, vessels under the Russian flag, access to EU ports has already been banned since April 16 and to gateways since July 29. But for energy cargoes, an exception has been made that allows the EU country to authorize the entry of a vessel into the port while securing short-term deals or contracts concluded before June 4, as well as for oil and oil products produced and produced outside of Russia (we are talking primarily about Kazakhstani oil, which is shipped in the ports of the Russian Federation). “At present, European legislation does not provide for an absolute ban on the purchase, import and transfer of oil and oil products to the EU and the delivery of such goods by ships sailing under the Russian flag, establishing a set of exceptions in articles 3ea and 3m of EU Council Regulation 833/2014,” says Kommersant‘s interlocutor in the industry. – Russian tankers can enter EU ports to deliver the corresponding cargoes, subject to appropriate restrictions. dual position. “On the one hand, I really want to give up everything Russian, but economic realities force us to turn a blind eye to the ongoing flow of Russian oil arriving through offshore transshipment,” he says. origin, but with a high probability it is unlikely that anyone will go for a real “cover” of such a scheme, since it is simply unprofitable. Therefore, the lawyer suggests, variations are possible with the resale of this oil to a company that owns a ship (or a trader) of a neutral country, which will transport it to the EU under the guise of non-Russian raw materials.

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