Long an afterthought for Middle Eastern producers, the European market is heating up as 2023 term deals are being finalized. While Europe’s oil consumption has been in long-term decline, the banishment of Russian barrels has generated a seismic shift as refiners seek alternatives.

From 5 December seaborne cargoes of Russian crude will be banned from European markets, at a stroke wiping out a market that totaled 2.4mn b/d for 2021 according to data intelligence firm Kpler. This is a huge amount of crude oil to be replaced, and Europe is already sucking in cargoes from numerous alternative markets even before the embargo comes into force. Despite widespread ‘self-sanctioning,’ tankers still delivered 1.3mn b/d of Russian crude to Europe in October according to Kpler. (CONTINUED - 998 WORDS)