The price of Russia’s flagship Urals crude fell after tough international bans and traded below $50 a barrel on Tuesday, well below the global benchmark set by Brent Crude, which was trading at $80 a barrel.
In the months following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Urals and Brent prices traded at roughly the same price with prices per barrel hovering around $95 on February 21 – the day before Moscow launched its “special military operation”.
Russia’s top exporter and a source of revenue that funds its war in Ukraine initially took a hit in March, falling from $101.86 a barrel on March 7 to $74.99 a barrel by March 15, according to OilPrice.com data.
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Urals crude oil has fallen steadily since August, when it hit its latest high of $78.79 a barrel on August 29.
The price of Brent crude oil has also fallen steadily below last year’s prices, although it remains relatively consistent with the prices of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) basket – which measures the average price per barrel from OPEC member countries.
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Russia is likely seeing the implications of a smaller trade market after Europe – which received 40% of its energy needs from Moscow before its invasion – reduced its dependence on Russian energy supplies.
India and China are Russia’s biggest importers of Urals crude, with Russian crude trading well below the $60-a-barrel ceiling set by the European Union and the G7 last year, India is expected to continue to take full advantage of cheaper energy supplies, reports said last month.
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India became Russia’s top buyer for the second month in a row in December, setting a new record the previous month with a share of 53% of all tanker shipments, according to the Economic Times – a figure that was forecast to jump to 70% in December.