Decline in Transneft’s Pipeline Oil Exports by 6.5% in 2023

Decline in Transneft's Pipeline Oil Exports by 6.5% in 2023

In 2023, Transneft, the Russian state-controlled oil giant, reported a significant decrease in its oil exports. On January 10, 2024, the company announced a 6.5% drop in crude oil exports compared to 2022. This decline occurred despite Transneft being responsible for over 90% of Russia’s oil production.

Regional Export Trends and Challenges

While the overall exports decreased, some regions saw an increase. The export volume to China through pipelines remained consistent at 40 million tonnes. However, despite facing 110 days of weather-related disruptions, the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk experienced a 3.1% increase in oil exports, reaching 30 million tonnes.

The Baltic Sea ports also reported growth, with Primorsk and Ust-Luga witnessing a rise of 6.5% and 9% in their exports, totaling 44.4 million tonnes and 34 million tonnes, respectively. Similarly, exports from the Pacific port of Kozmino saw a 9.4% increase, reaching 42.8 million tonnes.

In contrast, exports through the Druzhba pipeline to Europe plummeted by 60%. This Soviet-era pipeline has been heavily impacted by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, posing a constant threat to its operation. Despite not being targeted by EU sanctions specifically, the Druzhba pipeline’s future remains uncertain due to these geopolitical tensions.

Political Shifts in Oil Exports

In response to the changing political landscape, some European countries have distanced themselves from Russian oil. Poland and Germany have stopped using Russian oil, while Kazakhstan has stepped in to supply oil to Germany, aiming to increase its exports to 1.2 million tonnes in 2024.

Reflecting on these shifts, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak noted that approximately 90% of Russian oil exports are now directed towards China and India. This change in trade partners has been accelerated by the sanctions and embargoes imposed on Russia by Europe and the US. Novak highlighted that Russia had already begun strengthening its ties with Asia-Pacific nations before the conflict in Ukraine, indicating a strategic pivot in its energy export policies.