When travelling to India, Russian Sokol Oil crashed with oil tankers.

Over the previous four weeks, refiners in India should have received around five million barrels of Russian Sokol grade crude.

The last four weeks should have seen the arrival at Indian refiners of over five million barrels of Russian Sokol grade crude. With tankers sitting miles from their destinations—in one instance, for over a month—none of it has arrived. It’s unclear what’s preventing the vessels, but one possibility is that US penalties on tankers transporting Russian oil in violation of a Group of Seven pricing cap are contributing factor.

In mid-October, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on its first two ships connected to the Russian oil traffic. Three more were added at the middle of November, and three more at the beginning of December. Russia’s national tanker business, Sovcomflot PJSC, is the owner of six of the eight boats that have been sanctioned. The NS Century, which was transporting Sokol crude to the Indian port of Vadinar, is one of the vessels on the Treasury list.

It came to a stop two days after it was named on November 16 south of Sri Lanka, where it has stayed trapped ever since. According to tanker tracking information gathered by Bloomberg, it has been joined in the last week by two additional Sovcomflot tankers, both of which are carrying Sokol crude towards Vadinar. Not just the tankers bound for Vadinar are at a stop. By now, three more ought to have reached the east coast port of Paradip in India. These, too, have halted before reaching their goal.

The Nellis has joined the Krymsk, which has been idle approximately 275 kilometres from the port since December 4. Given its distance from Paradip, a third, the Liteyny Prospect, might soon join them. Sovcomflot is the owner of five of the tankers, which are each transporting roughly 700,000 barrels of crude that are pumped from fields off the east coast of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East. The other, a sixteen-year-old Very Large Crude Carrier named Nellis, has twice as much space in its hold as all the other vessels combined.

All of the Sokol crude is still travelling towards India, regardless of the cause of the delays. After finishing its cargo loading on December 19, a different tanker operated by Sovcomflot is sailing to Vadinar, where it is expected to arrive on January 5.


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