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Russia's seaborne diesel exports drop 21% in May

(Reuters) - Russia's seaborne diesel and gasoil exports were 21% lower in May from a month earlier at about 3.1 million tons as seasonal refinery maintenance cut supply and domestic demand rose, data from traders and Refinitiv Eikon showed.

Idle primary oil refining capacity for May has been revised up by 500,000 tons from the previous plan to 5.0 million tons as several refineries extended maintenance.

Since the full EU embargo on Russian oil products took effect on Feb. 5, traders have diverted diesel exports from Russian ports to countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Previously Europe was the main buyer.

According to Refinitiv data, Russian origin diesel sent to Turkey slipped to 0.9 million tons in May from 1.2 million tons in April.

The port of discharge had yet to be confirmed for around half the cargoes.

One trader said some Russian diesel would be involved in ship-to-ship transfer near the Turkish port of Mersin.

Last month, nearly 0.43 million tons of the diesel that loaded in Russian Baltic ports was heading to Brazil, Refinitiv data showed.

Together, Turkey and Brazil have been the main destinations for diesel exported from Russian ports this year. From January-to-May, Turkey received 5.2 million tons and Brazil 1.6 million tons, compared with respectively 5 million tons and 74,000 tons for the whole 2022, the Refinitiv data showed.

Russian diesel exports to African countries totaled about 0.5 million tons in May after 0.9 million tons in April, with Togo, Libya and Tunisia the top importers, according to the data.

Another 325,000 tons of diesel from Russia were in May destined for STS loadings near the Greek port of Kalamata, Refinitiv data shows. The final destinations were mostly unknown, but traders said they expected them to be in Asia or the Middle East.

In March, Russia sent diesel via STS near Kalamata to Saudi Arabia in addition to direct supplies.

According to Refinitiv shipping data, diesel loadings from Russian ports to Saudi Arabia totaled about 95,000 tons in May after 383,400 tons the previous month, with another 170,000 tons heading to Fujairah, the major transit and blending hub for oil products in the United Arab Emirates

All the shipping data above are based on the date of cargo departure. About 200,000 tons of diesel loaded in Russian ports in May do not yet have a confirmed destination.

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