The United States sanctioned three oil tankers, Kazan, Ligovsky Prospect, and NS Century, for transporting Russian Sokol crude to Indian Oil, India’s top refiner. The move is part of Washington’s efforts to enforce the Group of Seven’s price cap on Russian oil, a measure aimed at penalizing Moscow for its involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
The sanctions, imposed last Thursday, are designed to hinder the sale of Russian oil above the set price cap.
Ship tracking data reveals that all three sanctioned tankers, operating under the Liberian flag, have been actively transporting Sokol crude to India, with two making the trip as recently as October. The sanctions could temporarily reduce the number of vessels carrying Russian oil, potentially leading India to seek alternative sources. However, traders suggest that the profitability of this trade makes its complete cessation unlikely.
Details on Tankers and Future Implications
The three vessels received safety certification from the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) last year. Oil Tanker (SCF) Management manages Ligovsky Prospect and Kazan. They were certified in September and May, respectively, and NS Century, managed by Dubai-based Sun Ship Management (D) Ltd, obtained its certification in September 2022. Certification from societies like Lloyd’s Register and IRClass is crucial for securing insurance and port entry.
NS Century is en route to Gujarat’s Vadinar port to deliver Sokol crude to Indian Oil Corp (IOC) on November 25. IOC sources Sokol under an annual contract with Russian oil major Rosneft. The global price surge has led to Russian oil sold above the Western-imposed price cap of $60 a barrel. Neither IOC nor IRClass have responded to requests for comment.
Sokol crude, sourced from the Sakhalin-1 project managed by a Rosneft subsidiary post-ExxonMobil’s exit, was previously under the stake of India’s ONGC Videsh and Japan’s SODECO consortium before the sanctions and restructuring. The evolving geopolitical landscape and sanctions will likely influence future trading dynamics and partnerships in the oil sector.