Russian Oil No Longer Sells At A Discount As Nobody Complies With Western Sanctions

Russian Oil No Longer Sells At A Discount As Nobody Complies With Western Sanctions

Remember when, in the immediate aftermath of the Ukraine war, Russian oil immediately traded down to a discount of as much as 30% below spot Brent as the entire western world suddenly found itself locked out of access to the most valuable Russian export (which also meant that China and India were the only natural buyers left) and the price of Russian oil had to reflect the explicit plunge in demand?

Well, that’s no longer the case because in the two years since the start of the Ukraine conflict, it became apparent that Western sanctions were merely a theatrical publicity stunt as the alternative – strict enforcement – would have sent oil prices soaring and that would be unacceptable to a Biden administration terrified of losing the November elections if and when oil and gasoline prices surges.

And as fear of enforcement became a non-issue over time, so did the discount of Russian oil to Brent, which brings us to today, and Goldman’s “chart of the week” which illustrates the collapse in the discount on Russian crude oil close to zero relative to Brent, according to the bank’s estimates using the most recent customs data for December.

According to Goldman, which estimates the effective price of Russian crude paid by its trade partners using detailed customs data on import volumes and import payments for Russia crude, this drop in the price discount was primarily driven by the countries outside of the G7 coalition.

However, the discount has also narrowed for most of the buyers as Russian fleets were becoming more capable of operating under the G7 price cap.

The US Treasury’s recent decision to target Sovcomflot, Russia’s state-owned shipping company and fleet operator, comes against the backdrop of the drop in the effective discount late last year and the twin goals of US policymakers to “limiting Kremlin profits while promoting stable energy markets.”

It is also an admission that western attempts to prevent Putin from generating oil export revenues – critical in keeping the Russian war machine going – were either a failure, or merely a theatrical, virtue signaling sleight-of-hand from the beginning. And while the former is bad, the latter is far more disturbing as it suggests that the west has been willingly enabling Putin to sell oil and fund the war in Ukraine, the same war with Western nations are so vocally against.

Almost as if both Russia and the West are aligned in their (shared) goal of keeping the war in Ukraine going to its inevitable and dire, for Zelenskyy, conclusion; it also almost makes one wonder if the destruction of Ukraine – at the hands of Russia with the implicit enabling by the West – was a pre-planned exercise all along.

Full Goldman note available to pro subscribers in the usual place.

Tyler Durden
Sun, 03/03/2024 – 22:45

via ZeroHedge News Tyler Durden

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