Commodities

Small Oil Traders Are Making $20 Million Per Shipment of Russian Crude

  • Russian oil currently trades at a $25 discount to other varieties such as Brent and WTI.
  • Smaller commodity traders are buying and moving Russian crude after bigger firms left the market.
  • Some are making $20 million per shipment — and they’re not breaking Western sanctions.

Smaller oil traders are shifting Russian crude and making $20 million from a single cargo load — a massive increase from the roughly $600,000 they pocketed before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They have jumped in to fill the void left by the exit of industry giants like Glencore and Trafigura from Russia, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Russian Urals oil currently trades at just under $91 a barrel. That’s a $25 discount to Brent crude, which is priced at $116 a barrel.

These opportunistic traders aren’t violating EU sanctions. While European companies are banned from doing business with state-backed oil giant Rosneft, the EU is yet to impose a blanket ban on importing Russian oil.

That’s opened the window for smaller traders to step in, with Russia still exporting 3.6 million barrels of oil a day by sea, according to the commodities data and analytics firm Kpler.

Paramount Energy & Commodities is one firm that’s benefitting from buying Russian crude. The little-known Geneva-based outfit is trading 163,000 barrels a day on average, according to Petro-Logistics.

Paramount’s founder Niels Troost is now working from Dubai to avoid European sanctions, The Journal said. He’s also previously done business with sanctioned Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko, who is Vladimir Putin’s former tennis partner.

“All of those transactions occurred before sanctions were imposed and were halted immediately when sanctions were put in place,” Troost said.

Read more: Russia’s raking in billions in oil revenue, but running out of buyers. Here are the ways the country could deal with its unwanted oil – and what it means for the energy market.

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