UK 'quietly' imports tens of millions worth of Russian oil – The Times

21 November, 02:23 PM
Russian oil tanker (Photo:Yoruk Isik / Reuters)

Russian oil tanker (Photo:Yoruk Isik / Reuters)

Thanks to the shrewd use of loopholes in the sanctions regime, companies in the United Kingdom have continued to import Russian oil worth tens of millions of U.S. dollars, UK newspaper The Times reported on Nov. 20.

In June-July 2022, the ports of the United Kingdom received Russian oil worth $94 million.

But according to the publication, officially, this import is not classed as coming from Russia – it came to the country through the use of loopholes in regulations that allow the origin of the oil to be obscured.

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About $27 million of Russian oil has been delivered to the UK port of Immingham in Lincolnshire since March. However, the oil was registered as imports from Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

At the same time, since March, 10 British ports have received $919 million’s worth of Russian oil. Approximately $236 million of this amount came in June and July. Yet, according to official data, the United Kingdom did not buy Russian oil during this period.

That’s because the UK Office for National Statistics takes into account the sending country, not the oil producer. If the original producer of the oil is taken into account, UK imports of Russian oil in June and July were worth almost $95 million.

The Times said Russian oil tankers can evade sanctions by pumping their oil onto other ships while on the high seas, often disabling their GPS transponders so that they cannot be tracked while doing so.

In one incident recorded in May, the tanker Mariner III left the southern Russian port of Tuapse with a cargo of 200,000 barrels of oil. After five days at sea, the vessel anchored next to a large tanker owned by Greek company Marinoula. The ships halted near the town of Kalamata, in Greek waters.

Over the next 36 hours, both vessels were connected by large pipes. After taking on oil from Mariner III, the Greek vessel headed to the UK coast, where it moored in Immingham and unloaded about 250,000 barrels of oil on June 6.

In early November, the UK introduced additional restrictions on the purchase of Russian oil.

Meanwhile, the G7 countries and Australia have agreed to set a fixed ceiling for Russian oil prices, instead of the dynamic corridor as proposed earlier.

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