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Russian oil heading to storage in South Africa

Two supertankers loaded with Russian oil are en route to a storage facility in South Africa.

The Searacer and Elandra Denali, each carrying about 2.1 million barrels of oil, are headed to the Port of Saldanha, a hub for crude oil storage, according to Argus. American Shipper has verified the destinations through MarineTraffic.

Andy Lipow of Lipow Energy Associates tells American Shipper the only reason for vessels to berth in Saldanha is to store oil.

“This shows you the sanctions are having a real effect on Russia’s ability to sell their crude oil, and we are now seeing Russian crude oil go into storage,” Lipow said. “The only reason for an oil tanker to go to Saldanha Bay is to unload the oil into storage.”

Lipow said the oil markets are keeping an eye on other “out of the ordinary” tanker voyages, such as from the Netherlands or Gibraltar to the Caribbean.

“There are numerous storage locations in the Caribbean,” Lipow said. “St. Croix, Bonaire, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius and Curacao are important oil storage hubs for producers and traders.” 

The Caribbean served as a safe haven during the 2009 crude price collapse and the 2015 crude crash.