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Russia's September seaborne diesel exports fall on maintenance, export ban

(Reuters) - Seaborne diesel and gasoil exports from Russian ports fell 27% in September from a month earlier to about 2.76 million tons due to a major overhaul of refineries and a fuel export ban, data from traders and LSEG showed.

Idle primary oil refining capacity for September stood at 4.657 million tons, up 45% from August, according to Reuters calculations.

Last month Russia temporarily banned exports of gasoline and diesel from Sept. 21 to cope with a domestic shortage, but later lifted restrictions on bunker fuel and high sulfur gasoil.

The ban on exports of Russian diesel is indefinite, with further government action dependent on a deficit being erased in the domestic market, according to Russian First Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin.

Russia may introduce overseas fuel export quotas if the ban does not succeed in bringing down domestic fuel prices, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said last week.

Russian pipeline operator Transneft stopped export shipments of diesel from Primorsk from Sept. 22, when ULSD loadings via the port reached 745,000 tons.

Three more cargoes of diesel totaling 113,000 tons were loaded in Primorsk between Sept. 27 and Sept. 30, due to an exception for volumes which had loading orders before the export ban.

Total September ULSD loadings from the Russia's Primorsk fell by 46% month-on-month to 858,000 tons.

Primorsk port is the main outlet for ULSD exports, while the Black Sea ports Novorossiisk and Tuapse also include high-sulfur gasoil shipments.

Export Destinations

Turkey remained the main destination for Russian diesel and gasoil seaborne exports in September, though shipments fell month-on-month by 42% to about 960,000 tons, LSEG data shows.

Diesel loadings to Brazil from Russian ports decreased by a quarter from August to 470,000 tons, according to the shipping data.

A prolonged Russian ban on diesel exports will force Brazil and Turkey to replace Russian barrels with supplies from the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Middle East, market sources said.

Last month about 600,000 tons of diesel and gasoil from Russian ports were heading to African countries including Libya, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco and Ghana, LSEG data showed.

After the Russian export ban, African states are expected to turn to supplies of gasoil and diesel shipped from the Middle East, India and Turkey, traders said.

Another 270,000 tons of diesel from Russia in September was destined for ship-to-ship transfers near the Greek port of Kalamata.

The final destinations for these cargoes are not yet known, but they are usually shipped to Middle East countries.

All the shipping data above are based on the date of cargo departure. About 260,000 tons of diesel loaded in Russian ports in September do not yet have a confirmed destination.

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