Cargo of Russian Crude Heads to Cuba

Honor guards hold a Russian and a Cuban flags
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HOUSTON, Sept 15 (Reuters) – A cargo of Russia’s crude oil was heading to Cuba on Thursday, the latest import of Russian oil under sanctions by the Caribbean nation, which has an energy crisis.

The Liberia-flagged tanker Kazan loaded about 700,000 barrels of Russia’s Urals crude at the Baltic port of Primorsk last week and is on its way to discharge later this month at a refinery in Havana, according to Refinitiv Eikon.

The tanker is managed by Sun Ship Management since April, according to shipping database Equasis. Sun SM, previously called SCF Management Services, is a unit of Russia’s Sovcomflot, according to the parent company’s website. Sovcomflot is under U.S., British and Canadian sanctions.

Cuba, which generates most of its electricity from fuel oil and its own heavy crude production, has snapped up cheap Russian oil and diesel in recent months to complement domestic output and imports from political ally and main oil supplier Venezuela.

President Miguel Diaz Canel has criticized high global fuel prices amid power cuts and fuel rationing in the communist-ruled Caribbean island.

The Cuban government reshuffled energy operations after an August fire damaged a big portion of its largest oil terminal, Matanzas. It has turned to floating storage and ship-to-ship transfers for recent imports. read more

Last week, tanker Transsib Bridge carrying Russia-origin diesel discharged in Cuba after a brief stop in Colombia. read more

Cuba’s foreign ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

For Russia, Cuba provides an outlet for oil that has been sanctioned over the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Europe and the United Kingdom are moving toward an end-of-year embargo on Russian crude imports.

Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston; Additional reporting by Marianna Parraga
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