Friday, January 13, 2023

"Where Will Europe Get Its Diesel From in 23 Days’ Time?"

Good question. Armies, and pretty much everything else, run on diesel.

A deep dive from Bloomberg via Yahoo Finance, January 13:

In just over three weeks, seaborne deliveries of diesel from the European Union’s single biggest external supplier will be all but banned.

Who will step in to plug this enormous supply gap? And, will there be enough? Is the bloc sleepwalking into a fuel crisis?

The EU imported about 220 million barrels of diesel-type product from Russia last year, according to Vortexa Ltd. data compiled by Bloomberg. The fuel is vital to the bloc’s economy, powering cars, trucks, ships, construction and manufacturing equipment and more.

From Feb. 5, almost all those imports will be banned in an attempt to punish Moscow for the war in Ukraine. Replacing that much Russian fuel — imagine about 14,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools all brimming with diesel — is a mighty challenge.

Some progress has already been made. In 2021, more than half of all seaborne shipments into the EU and UK — which already has a ban in place — came from Russia. By December last year, that proportion had fallen to about 40%, partly thanks to increases from Saudi Arabia and India.

Looking forward, there’s reason to believe the remaining Russian supplies can be covered by barrels from elsewhere.

“The lost Russian supplies will be replaced,” said Eugene Lindell, head of refined products at consultancy Facts Global Energy.

But it’s far from guaranteed.

The Suppliers
The most obvious place where Europe can get more diesel is the Middle East: it’s fairly close, particularly to countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea — assuming, of course, the Suez Canal doesn’t get blocked — and has huge new oil refineries coming online that will spew out millions of barrels of fuel. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. has also already agreed a deal to supply Germany.

India and the US, both long-term suppliers to the EU, have also stepped up shipments in recent weeks. US refiners are forecast to produce a record volume of distillates this year, a category of fuel that includes the diesel used in trucks and automobiles.

But the most important potential resupplier, albeit indirectly, may turn out to be China....