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Russian Crude Market Update

A post by Vortexa


Northern Sea Route currently in use for voyages Baltic-to-China could be a viable option if ice class tonnage available

Two Russian-controlled Aframaxes are currently in transit to China via the Northern Sea Route (NSR) after loading Urals in Russia.


According to Vortexa sea surface temperature data, the vessels have transited towards warmer patches (darker blue) where there is less ice.


Before this voyage, both vessels have lifted Urals post-ban.


  • PRIMORSKY PROSPECT lifted Urals from Russia four times, and all cargoes have ultimately ended up in India (3 liftings were discharged via Kalamata STS).

  • NS ARCTIC lifted Urals from Russia twice, transiting directly Primorsk-to-China

Currently it is more economical to send crude to Asia via the Black Sea instead of the Baltic, but there is limited capacity for redirecting volumes.


  • Additionally, climate change and the significant reduction in ice in the Arctic makes the NSR to China more viable and could see activity on the route increase.

  • However, the NSR is limited by ice class tonnage availability


Posted on August 3, 2023


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