(Adds Bulgaria, Equinor, Hellenic Petroleum, JP Morgan
comments, Maersk, MOL, Netherlands, RWE and Turkey)
March 15 (Reuters) - Russian gas flows to Europe remain
stable, but Western sanctions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine
and voluntary actions by buyers are starting to impact its oil
Some European buyers appear to be shunning Russian oil to
avoid reputational damage or possible legal troubles despite the
fact only the United States has banned Russian crude imports
while the UK looks to phase out imports by the end of this year.
Such self-sanctioning in Europe is expected to become more
evident in April, after volumes in March are delivered under
previously signed contracts.
Crude exports of some 1-2 million barrels per day for April
delivery could be at risk if European buyers continue to avoid
Russian oil, JP Morgan said in a note on March 15.
Following are actions announced by countries and major
European energy companies:
BP said on Feb. 27 it would abandon its stake in
Rosneft, facing $25 billion of writedowns.
On Feb. 28 BP canceled all fuel oil loadings from the
Russian Black Sea port of Taman, sources familiar with the
Britain said it would phase out imports of Russian oil by
the end of 2022.
Bulgarian refiner LUKOIL Neftochim Burgas, owned by Russian
oil company LUKOIL, mainly operates on Russian crude oil.
Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev has told
parliament that the refinery was already processing 40%
non-Russian crude oil and could switch to refining 100%
non-Russian crude if need be. There are no plans to cut Russian
Canada said on Feb. 28 it would ban Russian crude oil
imports, and that it was also looking into banning refined oil
products. Canada has not imported any Russian crude oil since
2019, but in 2021 it imported naphtha, diesel and
Energy group, 30.3% owned by the Italian
government, announced on March 9 it was suspending purchases of
oil from Russia.
Norway's majority state-owned energy firm Equinor
has stopped trading Russian oil as part of its plan to wind down
its operations in Russia, the company told Reuters on March
Equinor added on March 14 that it had contractual
commitments under which it was to receive four oil cargoes in
The European Union, which relies on Russia for 40% of its
gas and 27% of its crude oil imports, is split on whether to
follow the United States and Britain in curbing Russian intake.
The European Commission has promised to present a plan by
the end of May to make the EU independent of Russian fossil
Greece's biggest oil refiner, in which the state
owns a 35.5% stake, has said that Russian crude accounted for
about 15% of its crude feed in the second half of 2021 and can
be replaced by similar grades mostly from the Middle East.
The company clinched an initial deal for additional crude
oil supplies from Saudi Arabia, two sources from the refiner
said on March 15.
Denmark's shipping group Maersk has stopped
buying Russian oil for its vessels as a consequence of Russia's
invasion of Ukraine, Maersk Chairman Jim Hagemann Snabe told the
company's annual shareholder meeting on March 15.
Hungarian oil group MOL said on March 15 that
Russia's Druzhba pipeline continued to supply crude oil. Prime
Minister Viktor Orban has repeatedly said Hungary opposes
sanctions on Russian oil and gas.
Finnish refiner said on Feb. 28 it had decided to
replace most of its Russian purchases with crude from other
regions, and not make any new deals to buy petroleum products
from Russia. Previously Neste had purchased two-thirds of its
crude oil from Russia.
Neither the Dutch government nor Rotterdam Port have banned
Russian oil. Around 30% of the oil that goes through the port of
Rotterdam is Russian. Around 20 million tons of Russian oil
products go through the port annually.
The Austrian oil and gas firm told Reuters on
March 11 it was not refining any Russian crude grades in its
European refineries, and had no intention to do so in the "near
future." The company said it had processed "minor quantities" of
Russian crude in the past.
Poland's largest refiner told Reuters on March 11
it was continuing to buy Russian crude for its refineries in
Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic to meet the region's
energy needs, but was prepared for "any scenario," including a
complete suspension of Russian supply.
Sweden's largest refiner, owned by Saudi billionaire
Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi, told Reuters on March 11 that it had
"paused all new orders of Russian crude oil pending sanctions."
Imports from Russia, which account for about 7% of its crude
purchases, were being replaced by oil from the North Sea, the
Spanish energy firm Repsol has stopped buying
Russian crude oil in the spot market, a company spokesperson
German utility RWE said on March 15 it would stop
new supply deals for Russian gas or oil.
The world's largest petroleum trader, Shell said on
March 8 that it would stop buying Russian crude and phase out
its involvement in all Russian hydrocarbons.
Rosneft said last November it had acquired Shell's stake in
Germany's PCK oil refinery, which receives pipeline oil from
Russia. The transaction remains subject to regulatory approval.
France's TotalEnergies said on March 7 it had
stopped buying oil from Russia, although one of its landlocked
refineries in Germany continued to receive Russian crude by
Turkey is still buying Russian crude and related products
and has no plans to stop. It opposes sanctions on Moscow.
The United States imposed a wide ban on Russian oil and gas
imports on March 8.
(Reporting by Reuters bureaux, compiled by Nerijus Adomaitis
and Shadia Nasralla; editing by Jane Merriman and Jason Neely)