NEW DELHI (Agencies): A secretive Indian company that rose to infamy for its role in shipping Russian oil has disappeared suddenly and mysteriously, Bloomberg has reported.
Mumbai-based Gatik Ship Management, which was able to amass 60 oil carriers for transporting Russian oil, has cut its fleet to just four ships as companies that are helping trade in Russian commodities come under increasing scrutiny.
A May report by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) titled Laundromat: How the price cap coalition whitewashes Russian oil in third countries, revealed that western countries bought $42 billion worth of laundered Russian crude in the form of various oil products from nations that are friendly towards Russia in 2022, with India being the biggest buyer and seller of Russian oil. For instance, India’s diesel exports tripled to ~1,600,000 barrels per day in March 2023, compared to a year ago, making diesel one of the largest components of India-EU trade.
Back in March, Bloomberg reported that six little-known companies based in Hong Kong and Dubai now dominate Russian oil trade with the traditional leaders such as Switzerland’s Vitol, Glencore, and Gunvor as well as Singapore’s Trafigura no longer in the picture.
According to Bloomberg, Russian customs data, Nord Axis Ltd, Tejarinaft FZCO,QR Trading DMCC, Concept Oil Services Ltd, Bellatrix Energy Ltd and Coral Energy DMCC together handled about 1.4 million barrels a day of Russian crude oil. That’s more oil than what the commodity giants typically handled before the war in Ukraine, and enough to meet the entire needs of countries such as the UK and Italy.
Interestingly it’s Nord Axis, a company that was incorporated just a year ago in Hong Kong, that emerged as the biggest buyer, moving 521,000 barrels of Russian crude per day.
Nord Axis was virtually unknown in the oil market until it bought Trafigura’s stake in Rosneft’s flagship oil project Vostok Oil in July. Dubai-based Tejarinaft FZCO was the second largest buyer after it purchased 244,000 barrels a day from Rosneft while Dubai-based QR Trading DMCC was the third-largest buyer, moving 199,000 barrels a day from Surgutneftegas PJSC.
Other top buyers were Hong Kong’s Concept Oil Services Ltd (152,000 b/d), Hong Kong-based Bellatrix Energy Ltd (151,000 b/d) and Dubai’s Coral Energy DMCC (121,000 b/d).