How the war in Ukraine is hitting the global bitumen market in Russia


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Russia exported around 5 million tonnes of bitumen to 50 countries in 2021, worth more than $1 billion. The country appears to be losing most of its bitumen markets due to sanctions after the attack on Ukraine. In this situation, other bitumen-producing countries are trying to capture Russia’s share of the world bitumen market. Infinity Galaxy, the international bitumen supplier, briefly explains the consequences of the war on Russian bitumen exports:

According to the ITC report, from 2017 to 2021, Russia exported more than 14 million tons of bitumen worth $3 billion.

Russia exported 5 million tons of bitumen in 2021. Countries opposed to Russia’s attack bought 2.5 million tons of exported bitumen, worth around $500 million.

The vast majority of these countries are in Africa, America, Europe and some Asian countries. They will probably stop importing bitumen from Russia. However, Russia can still cooperate with its allies.

As reported by S&P Global, Russia has increased the bitumen export rate to its allies. Exports to China reached 18,700 tonnes in March, up 34.9% from February. The country also exported 15,700 tonnes of bitumen to Kazakhstan, which doubled in March.

All in all, this volume increase in exports to China and Kazakhstan in March cannot compensate for the total drop in exports to other countries.

It looks like the sanctions will intensify if this war continues. These sanctions can cause Russia to lose access to many markets.

As Reuters reported on April 7, one of Russia’s 150,000 bpd capacity refineries shut down as demand for Russian petroleum products waned and crude oil prices soared against penalties.

Many refineries around the world have increased their activities after the closure of Russian refineries. They intend to gain market share in various countries that previously belonged to Russia.

Many countries are ready to intervene

Reducing dependence on Russian bitumen will not be easy and global bitumen supply will decrease. 2.5 million tonnes of new capacity have been created for countries that have bitumen production and want to replace Russia.

This global conflict is causing Russian bitumen customers to request bitumen from countries like the United States, Spain, Italy, Greece, Canada and Iran.

The cost effects of these changes in the supply chain are not yet fully known. However, the most important current effects are the change of suppliers and schedules of many construction projects due to the closure of refineries and rising prices.

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