Turkey and ship-to-ship top destinations for Russian May diesel loadings-traders

(Reuters) - Turkey and ship-to-ship (STS) loadings remained the top destination for Russian diesel exports in May, while total shipments in May are set to fall because of seasonal refinery maintenance and rising domestic demand, traders said and Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

Russia's offline primary oil refining capacity is expected to rise by 1.9 million tons this month from April to 4.4 million tons.

Since the full EU embargo on Russian oil products went into effect on Feb. 5, traders have diverted diesel export supplies from Russian ports to countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East instead of Europe, which was previously the main buyer.

In May to date, Russia has sent about 0.5 million tons of diesel to Turkey versus 1.2 million tons in the previous month, Refinitiv data shows.

About 300,000 tons of that are still in transit with the port of discharge not yet confirmed.

Some of the diesel cargoes heading to Turkey from Russian ports could be discharged as ship-to-ship (STS) and their ultimate destination is not confirmed, market sources said.

Another 400,000 tons of diesel from Russia are destined for STS loadings near the Greek port of Kalamata and also near Malta, Refinitiv data shows.

"Mediterranean ship-to-ship loadings help to save on long and costly routes to Asia", one trader said.

The final destinations for these cargoes remain mostly unknown.

About 220,000 tons of diesel from Russian ports are heading to Brazil compared with 480,000 tons in April, based on Refinitiv data.

About 250,000 tons of Russian diesel have headed to Africa since the start of May, Refinitiv data shows. The exports have been mainly to Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria among others.

In April, diesel loadings from Russian ports to Africa totaled about 0.9 million tons, Reuters calculations based on Refinitiv data showed.

All the shipping data above was by cargo departure. About 260,000 tons of diesel loaded in Russian ports this month do not yet have a confirmed destination.

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