- Russia made $11.3 billion in net oil revenues in October — more than any month in the year before the Ukraine war.
- Russia’s bumper energy takings are despite a $60-a-barrel oil price cap imposed by G7 countries.
- A dark fleet of tankers transporting Russian oil is helping the country’s energy trade.
Russia made more money from oil exports in October than it did in any of the months before the Ukraine war, according to a Bloomberg analysis.
In October, Russia generated $11.3 billion in net oil revenues. That’s more than the country made in any single month before it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. The revenue generated in October was also the highest since May 2022, when prices were volatile following the outbreak of the war.
Russia’s October oil exports accounted for about one-third of the country’s overall net budget revenue for the month, per Bloomberg calculations based on official finance ministry data.
Moscow’s bumper oil takings in October came nearly a year after G7 countries imposed a $60-a-barrel price cap. This program is aimed at limiting the oil earnings that would go to Russia’s war chest while still keeping the global oil trade flowing. The restrictions also prohibit insurance and shipping services for vessels carrying oil sold above the price cap.
However, Russia still managed to sell 99% of its October oil exports above the $60 a barrel price cap, according to a Bloomberg report and KSE Institute research. During the month of October, oil exported from the major ports of Russia sold for an average of $79.40 a barrel.
Russia’s oil exports have been boosted by a shadow fleet of ships carrying the commodity. These are vessels that do not have adequate insurance, have switched off their tracking systems, or are deliberately hiding their identities.
Dark fleets transported about 45% of Russia’s oil exports this year, per Bloomberg.
Russia has also managed to circumvent sanctions by pivoting from its previous major market in Europe to alternative markets like India and China.
Because of Russia’s energy sales, the country’s economy has remained seemingly resilient in the 21 months since it was hit with sweeping sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.
Official estimates indicate Russia’s gross domestic product grew 5.5% in the third quarter from a year ago — reversing a 3.5% decline in the same period last year.
However, Russia’s official economic statistics are nearly impossible to verify and reports suggest that much of the country’s growth is due to massive military and government spending.
Igor Lipsits, a prominent Russian economist, told Reuters last month that “the real situation is bad” for the country’s economy.