China, Oil, and the Ukraine War

Russia is finding it increasingly difficult to sell its oil in Europe and other traditional markets, as a mixture of sanctions, market pressures and consumer choice are shifting against Moscow. It’s not that Russia is barred against selling oil. It’s that shippers, insurers, and dock workers don’t want anything to do with the stuff. So where does it go?

There is a persistent question – and at times, assumption – that Beijing will step in to buy up whatever crude Russia can’t sell elsewhere.

Not so fast. 

The problem is infrastructure. The pipelines that carry oil to Russia’s Pacific loading terminal, and directly into China itself, source their crude from eastern fields. Russia’s western exports are sourced from western fields. There’s precious little in the way of connecting infrastructure between the two–meaning if Russia can’t load tankers in the Baltic and Black seas, there’s little reason to pump it at all. What does this mean for Chinese imports of Russian crude? Probably not what you’d expect…

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we asked our readers who were so inclined and able to consider donating toward a cause we thought was important: Feeding America.

While we still believe strongly in their mission, with recent events in Ukraine we are asking our subscribers to consider supporting a charity focused on relief efforts there. There are many good ones to choose from, but one in particular we are supporting is the Afya Foundation.

They collect money and health supplies for underserved communities in the world, and have begun delivering non-combat support to refugees and population centers in Ukraine. We hope that those who can, join us.

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