The last shipment of Russian crude oil arrived on the coast of Spain almost a year ago: on April 15, 2022. It did so at the port of Cartagena, the cargo ship Minerva Eleonora, a ship over 240 meters long and with the Liberian flag. . Since then, not a drop of oil has arrived from the Urals, due to sanctions and toxic warfare by the West. Faced with this situation, the Spanish importers – a power fused on a European scale, the net exporter…
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The last shipment of Russian crude oil arrived on the coast of Spain almost a year ago: on April 15, 2022. It did so at the port of Cartagena, the cargo ship Minerva Eleonora, a ship over 240 meters long and with the Liberian flag. . Since then, not a drop of oil has arrived from the Urals, due to sanctions and toxic warfare by the West. Faced with this situation, Spanish importers – potentially refining on a European scale, net exporter of fossils – had to move other sources, which brought no less than the amount of crude of other countries: about 150,000 barrels per day, about 13 % of total consumption. Spanish
In this search for alternative providers, a large figure emerges above the rest: Latin America. After several years of relative sluggishness in crude imports, arrivals from the mill skyrocketed, with Brazil leading the way. Between May of last year – the first month without arrivals of Russian crude oil at the Port of Spain – and December, more than 12.7 million tons of oil arrived in Spain from the huge strip of land that runs from the Rio Grande to Ushuaia. It is the highest figure ever, 60% more than the year before and a third more than in 2019, the last year before the pandemic, according to data from the State Corporation for Strategic Support of Petroleum Products (Cores).
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“In February 2022, the last month before the normal war, it was difficult to find Latin countries among the largest Spanish crude supplies: almost everything from Kazakhstan, the United States, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia or Libya,” he recalls. Viktor Katona, lead oil at Kpler’s advice. In a year, that photo definitely changes: “In February he came to Brazil to take first place and second to Mexico.” They do not coincide: so far in March, the main panel shows a similar picture, with the two biggest Latin American forces in the lead.
Like gas – although much less -, cruder also comes to Spain from the United States. “But its oil is very light and it is not a perfect ideal for Russian,” he says. George LeonRystad is a senior vice president at the industry analysis firm. “But the reality is that there has been an increase in the arrival of Latin American crude, especially Brazil, which became the first Spanish market at the beginning of 2023.” In part, according to the former president of Citgo Luisa Palacios, because the Brazilian production that used to go to China ended up in the old Continent, after it was expelled from the Asian giant because of Russian raw materials, which the Kremlin used heavily. discount
In these circumstances, the greater arrival of Brazilian crude — at the expense of Russia — allows, according to Katona, a reduction in the consumption of natural gas in Spanish refineries. The plan? With less sulfur, it requires less hydrogen in the distillation process. And hydrogen continues to be generated, mostly with natural gas. “A big help,” concluded the Kpler analyst.
Despite the miles of nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean that separate Russia from the main American oil powers, they have imposed a type of crude market – in general, very similar: heavy, ideal for the production of the so-called medium. drops, such as diesel or aviation kerosene. Only a few Central Asian countries, such as Azerbaijan, can supply a similar type of oil.
Spain’s “strategic recalibration” towards Latin America – in Katona’s words – is also confirmed by the resumption of the rivers from Venezuela: last week, without going any further, Kapler explained the arrival of two crude ships from that country to the ports. Carthage and Tarracone. Colombia and even Ecuador, which for years disappeared from the list of Spanish industrial imports, also sell substantial quantities to Spain again. Two other South American countries — though not Latin American, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago — have become suppliers of some importance.
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The eight active refineries in Spain – one of the few net food exporters in the Old Continent – are the closest thing to the knife of the Swiss army: they usually process all types of crude oil: light or heavy; acid or sweet (according to the amount of sulfur it contains)… This versatility is not only a very positive attribute in these times in which the security of things has reached the first concern, but also allows oil to be brought from there. virtually any operating planet.
“This major exchange rate is good for Spain and Latin America. Both win, Leo recapitulating from Rystad. Palacios, today a professor at the Center for Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, on the other hand takes the movement with a grain of salt: “It is indeed an opportunity for Latin America, but it must be in perspective. : the amount is not much and its biggest client continues and will continue to be the US”. the fact is that, although the oil production of Brazil and Guyana – regions of great opportunity – have grown strongly in these times, this has not happened in the whole region. “Traditional oil tanks in the region have suffered greatly and continue to decline,” he recalls on the other end of the phone.
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