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Russia boosts fuel exports to Senegal on shipping sector demand

(Reuters) - Russia has significantly increased its fuel exports to Senegal this year on rising bunker demand, as more companies are diverting cargoes around Africa instead of using Red Sea routes, traders said and LSEG data showed.

Russian fuel oil supplies to Senegal in the first two months of 2024 reached 550,000 metric tons compared with 1.08 million tons in the whole of 2023 and 0.37 million tons in 2022, replacing oil product supplies from Rotterdam, the data showed.

"Senegal has strong growth in bunkering," one trader said. "The bunker fuel suppliers are benefitting from the situation in Suez."

Since December last year, many shipping companies have instructed their vessels to sail around southern Africa instead of using the Red Sea due to attacks by Houthi militants, leading to bunker fuel demand growth.

Fuel oil is widely used for fueling ships, or bunkering. Senegal may also use it for power generation, market sources said.

Senegalese oil minister Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Diome did not respond to requests for comment when contacted by Reuters.

The bulk of Russian fuel oil supplies to Senegal are shipped from the Russian Baltic port of Vysotsk, and also from the ports of Ust-Luga and St. Petersburg.

Russia has also exported about 0.2 million metric tons of diesel to Senegal since the start of this year, versus 0.8 million tons in 2023.

Most of those volumes are of high-sulphur gasoil loaded at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, according to LSEG data.

"You could also take bunker fuel to Nigeria, but there is more piracy risk, so it's better to take it north," the trader continued, adding that he would expect further bunker demand growth in African countries because of the Red Sea situation.

The European Union's full embargo on Russian oil products came into effect in February 2023, and the bulk of Russia's fuel oil and VGO was redirected to other regions, mostly Asia and African countries.


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