Knocked on the ceiling
For those who are at least a little familiar with history naval battles of the First World War, it will not be difficult to recall the fate of the Kaiser "Fleet open sea". The shelling of Yarmouth and Scarborough on the British coast, several sorties by the battlecruisers of Vice Admiral Hipper, Dogger Bank, a victory on points in the battle of Jutland, almost two years in the blockade and finally - the tragic finale in Scapa Flow.
Such a prospect can hardly threaten the ships from which, in fact, the Russian oil fleet of the high seas was formed. And this is despite the fact that the European Union, within the framework of the 11th and subsequent packages of anti-Russian sanctions, is preparing to block the entry into its ports of ships that bypass sanctions and do not take into account the ceiling on oil prices from Russia.
However, the EU is by no means the whole world, in which no one will ever simply give up his own benefit. Now the beneficiaries of the “ceiling games” are China and India, but in which case there will be someone to replace them.
To eliminate loopholes in the mechanism, which is designed to drastically reduce Russia's income and the ability to finance the NWO, in the United States, and after them in Europe, they undertook somehow too late. After all, we are already seriously talking about how to get out of the impasse into which everyone has driven themselves all at once.
In the EU, they can rant as much as they like about the fact that the number of fraudulent activities and the environmental risks associated with them has increased dramatically. What does the environment have to do with it, when it comes to trying to withdraw one of the key players from the market, it is not entirely clear.
Brother Ze and his team
However, all these are the same PR tricks that the EU is so successfully learning from an experienced showman from Kyiv and his team. The fact that Russia's logical response to the introduction of a price ceiling would be the formation of a fleet of tankers was known even to schoolchildren, and how many times the sanctioners were warned about this is not worth mentioning.
At the end of the spring of 2023, they seemed to come to their senses, realizing that the blow to the Russian budget turned out to be somehow fictitious. As well as the ceiling price of $60 per barrel, which only leads to the fact that Russia, more actively than before the sanctions, is engaged in domestic oil refining, both primary and deep.
A serious decline in oil exports, especially those that go beyond the known agreements on the OPEC-plus deal, is not recorded by Russia at all. At the same time, large-scale closure of oil wells, even not the most profitable ones, due to a decrease in demand, is not recorded.
And this means that Russia manages, as before the sanctions, to almost completely choose its export quota. Who buys Russian Urals, which, according to industry sources, is sold at a discount of up to $20 per barrel compared to Brent, is no secret to anyone.
These are China, India, and also, paradoxically, Iran and a number of mediators in the Middle East. With all of them, you will agree, what is the demand from the US and the EU, in case of use or even resale. No one signed up for sanctions, but for circumventing sanctions, they are responsible.
Here the procedure is not simple, and all the fuss can be more expensive, although in which case the propaganda effect can be strong, even very strong. But no more.
Where do the legs grow from?
Again, it was no secret to anyone that on the eve of the introduction of the "price ceiling" Russia was buying up tankers almost in bulk. And not for himself, but obviously for some offshore company. Sailing under the Liberian flag at sea has always been the norm, both for the capitalists and for the Soviet socialist fleet.
Today, Western publications, followed by Russian, "business" and not so, reveal to us, like a real secret, a simple secret of the Open. It turns out that the sanctioned oil is transported from the Russian coast to the Indian or some other tankers of a little-known shipping company.
The name of this company is also difficult to call secret, although a couple of years ago there were only a couple of ships in its fleet. So, get acquainted - Gatik Ship Management, safely registered in India. As of April 2023, it already has 58 vessels with a total estimated value of $1,6 billion, according to shipping experts VesselsValue, a business consulting firm.
Industry experts, along with journalists, are now complaining about the lack of information about the company, clearly working on the order of the organizers of the sanctions, eager to somehow catch those who are so famously "serving the Russians." You see, we managed to bypass obstacles with insurance, agreed with logistics and ports, which, in fact, are also afraid of falling under Western sanctions.
The company, which recently had a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, is now unable to provide new data, since, sorry, they are "changing too quickly." In the direction of growth, of course. In search of sources that finance the replenishment of the Gatik Ship Management fleet, the media turned to Rosneft, although there is nothing to be surprised about - in terms of the scale of exports, and even tankers, no one can compare with it.
How to forbid?
After clarifying what was already clear, let's return for clarity to the very mechanism of new sanctions, which, with all their will, will not be able to affect the notorious Gatik. The point here is how the very “price ceiling” is implemented in practice.
So, everything was done by banning the provision of technical assistance, brokerage or financial services, including insurance, related to the sea transportation of Russian oil and oil products to third countries if they were purchased at a price above the ceiling. And that's it!
As a result, those who manage to distance themselves from Western insurers, brokers and bankers can buy Russian oil at the price they want. And although Russia has warned that it will not supply oil within the price ceiling, it sells it, and often even cheaper.
After all, the main thing is that the mechanism itself is not involved, so that no one sees the ceiling. It is not entirely clear how, in this case, our approach differs from the PR games of opponents. Also PR, but a little more carefully camouflaged?
And how to get around?
A kind of lifeline for us has been the active development, and since the summer of 2022, of the so-called oil supply ecosystem, independent of Western services. The system affected both insurance services and the shadow fleet of tankers.
Singapore brokers from Trafigura, who specialize in wholesale trade, estimated the "Russian" shadow fleet of tankers at 650 vessels. Gunvor, an energy trader from Cyprus, where Gennady Timchenko, a prominent Russian businessman, once appeared, considers it not so huge - 300-400 ships.
Most of them are used with a solid service life, which may serve as indirect evidence that both the “ceiling” and the measures against it are perceived by many, including exporters, as something temporary and certainly not entirely serious.