Russian Oil Heads to West Africa for First Time in 5 Years as Sanctions Weigh

  • A shipment of Russian crude is headed for storage tanks in Ghana, Bloomberg reports, as Moscow looks for new buyers.
  • That marks the first time in 5 years that Russian oil has been delivered to a West African country.
  • Russia is under pressure to support oil and gas sales after revenues fell by nearly 50% last month.

Russian oil is headed to West Africa for the first time since 2018 as Western sanctions force Moscow to find new buyers, according to Bloomberg.

On Friday, a tanker named Theseus arrived in Ghana, carrying about 600,000 barrels of Russian crude oil. The oil is to be pumped into storage tanks at the Tema Oil Refinery, people familiar with the matter told the outlet.

Ghana itself is an exporter of crude oil, bringing in an average of 140,000 barrels a day for the past six months, according to Bloomberg. It also sits next to Nigeria and Angola, the two largest oil producing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The new development comes as Russia faces pressure to shore up oil and gas revenues after logging a nearly 50% drop in January, exacerbating the budget deficit. Sanctions imposed by Moscow after it invaded Ukraine have dragged down Russian crude prices and deterred buyers, leading to a drop in energy revenues.

The latest round of sanctions to hit Moscow’s crude oil includes the European Union’s ban on Russian refined oil products, such as diesel. It adds to an EU embargo on Russian offshore oil imposed in December, and a price cap imposed by the West.

In response to the sanctions, Russia has scrambled to find new buyers for its oil and gas, exporting large volumes to China and India at heavy discounts. Just this month, Russia sold the most crude oil and gasoline to China since the invasion of Ukraine last year.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the sanctions as “stupid,” and vowed to cut oil exports by 25% in a bid to push up prices in the West.

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