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Russia's September fuel oil and VGO exports to India hit record high

(Reuters) - Russia has sent record volumes of sea-borne fuel oil and vacuum gasoil to India in September, replacing some crude oil volumes, traders said and LSEG data showed.

The move will cement India's position as the top buyer of Russian crude and products at the expense of shipments by previously dominant OPEC producers, allowing Moscow to collect stable and rising revenue despite Western sanctions.

India has also become a major exports of fuels to Europe on the back of refining cheaper Russian barrels.

The European Union's full embargo on Russian oil products came into effect on Feb. 5 and the bulk of Russia's fuel oil and VGO was redirected to other regions, mostly Asia.

In September, fuel oil and VGO shipments from Russian ports to India totaled 1.4 million metric tons after 0.7 million tons in August, according to LSEG data and Reuters calculations. Most of those cargoes will arrive at Indian ports in October.

In total, Russian fuel oil and VGO exports to India have exceeded 5.5 million tons between January and September, 2023 versus 2.5 million tons in the first nine months of 2022.

India buys straight-run fuel oil and VGO for refining, partially replacing more expensive Urals barrels, market sources added.

United Arab Emirates, China, Singapore and Malaysia are also among the big importers of Russian fuel oil and VGO, accounting in total about 1.3 million metric tons in September, according to LSEG data and Reuters calculations.

Croatia, which is allowed to buy Russian VGO under EU embargo terms, increased vacuum gasoil imports last month twice to August to 66,000 metric tons and purchased another 66,000 tons in October, shipping data showed.

Russia also exports in September about 160,000 tons of fuel oil to Senegal, which buys it for power generation, according to data from LSEG and market sources.

No cargoes with fuel oil or VGO from Russian port were seen heading to Saudi Arabia last month after record volumes in June and July.

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