A Liberian-flagged oil tanker set sail in May from Russia’s Ust-Luga port carrying crude on behalf of a little-known trading company based in Hong Kong. Before the ship had even reached its destination in India, the cargo changed hands.
The new owner of the 100,000 tonnes of Urals crude carried on the Leopard I was a similarly low-profile outfit, Guron Trading, also based in Hong Kong, according to two trading sources.
The number of little-known trading firms relied on by Moscow to export large volumes of crude exports to Asia has mushroomed in recent months, since sanctions over the Ukraine war led major oil firms and commodity houses to withdraw from business with producers in Russia, reporting by Reuters has found. At least 40 middlemen, including companies with no prior record of involvement in the business, handled Russian oil trading between March and June, according to a Reuters tally after speaking to 10 trading sources, along with analysts from think-tank Kpler, and analysing data from Refinitiv and the non-public books of shipping companies.
Read more: reuters.com