Why does the US start buying more and more diesel from Russia?

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MOSCOW – In recent months, diesel has become one of the most exported raw materials by Russia to the US. Discover the conditions that contributed to this byproduct obtained in Russian oil refineries becoming so vital for the North American country.

Diesel imports from Russia and the former Soviet republics to the US increased until reaching a multi-year maximum of 1.35 million tons in October. The North American country is expected to continue importing similar volumes in November, as evidenced by data from the analytical company Vortexa published by The New York Times.

This increase in imports helped offset the loss of Venezuelan oil caused by the embargo applied by Washington on supplies from the Caribbean country. As a result, US plants located in the Gulf of Mexico and on the eastern coast of the US that are designed to refine heavy crude like Venezuela’s were at risk of becoming paralyzed. Diesel is the product that has taken them out of this trouble, Vortexa analysts said.

Nowadays diesel is the main fuel of ship’s engines. Its demand was decreasing throughout the year after the International Maritime Organization approved new ecological standards. In particular, the entity ordered to reduce the maximum sulfur content in the fuel of ships from 3.5% to 0.5% from January 1, 2020.

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Ecologists believe that, thanks to this reduction, carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere will decrease by 85%, which reduces the risk of acid rain that damages agriculture so much. In addition, the inhabitants of the port cities will experience less respiratory diseases.

Diesel is the byproduct resulting from petroleum once its low molecular weight fractions, such as kerosene and gasoline, are extracted. This fuel will retain its price in the coming months because ship owners fully understand that it is impossible to refuse its use completely from 2020. There are at least two reasons why this scenario is unfeasible, according to Russian journalist Maxim Rubchenko.

“First, because low-sulfur fuel costs 1.5 times more than diesel and, second, because it is not produced in sufficient volumes to meet global demand. Therefore, 40% of maritime carriers will continue to use it from January 1,” he concluded.

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