As of the morning of November 15, the world media wrote about this and not only.
Prohibited Russian oil ended up in the Pentagon’s supply chain
After numerous changes of ownership, the fuel is sold to a Greek refinery that serves the US military, informs about the results of an investigation by The Washington Post.
According to the publication, after Western countries announced a ban on Russian oil last year in response to the invasion of Ukraine, a Greek oil refinery that serves the American military quickly adapted. Within months, he told investors that he had stopped taking the banned oil and had found other sources.
However, in reality, oil products of Russian origin continued to flow to the Motor Oil Hellas refinery on the Aegean coast of Greece. This is according to an analysis of data on shipping and trade conducted by WP.
These oil products simply took a new route – hundreds of kilometers away, through an oil storage facility in Turkey, which hid the Russian trail, as the owners of the oil products changed hands several times before they reached Greece. The fact, WP emphasizes, that these shipments contained material originating from Russia highlights the weakness of sanctions and the inability to aggressively apply them. .
“I don’t see any other possible conclusion than that Russian fuel is going to Motor Oil Hellas,” said refinery modeler and petroleum products market analyst at research firm RBN Energy Robert Auers, who analyzed the data obtained by WP.
Over the past two years, the company has received 5.4 million barrels of oil products by sea, all but 1.9 million from Russia, according to shipment and trade data obtained from Refinitiv, a company that specializes in financial and commodities data. . Since the European Union sanctions came into effect in February, Russian shipments to Dyortyol have amounted to 2.7 million barrels, or more than 69% of the oil products delivered by sea to the city during that period.
It was not possible to determine the exact amount of oil products of Russian origin in the products purchased by the Pentagon. These products are processed using many ingredients that cannot be traced through the manufacturing process.
It was also not possible to establish whether, at some stage of its journey, fuel oil from Russia was relabeled as coming from another country. The documents that describe the origin of a consignment of oil, known as certificates of origin, are not public documents.
Joe Yosva, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency, which procures fuel for the US military, said in an email that the agency had “no knowledge” of fuel from Russia going to its Greek supplier. The agency said its contractors, including Motor Oil Hellas, “are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations relating to business with Russia and Russian companies.”
As Yosva points out, there’s not much the Pentagon can do to control suppliers. The products that make up the fuel it buys from Motor Oil Hellas “are constantly changing and may differ from one delivery to another.” He explains, “it would be difficult or impossible to trace the origin of a specific supply of petroleum products.”
Motor Oil Hellas said in a statement that the company “does not buy, refine or trade Russian oil or oil products. All of its imports are certified as originating from non-sanctioned countries.”
As WP points out, the company did not respond to specific questions about the nature of this certification or whether it takes any steps to ensure its authenticity.
Meanwhile, Brian O’Toole, a fellow at the Atlantic Council and former senior adviser to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which oversees US sanctions compliance, and other sanctions experts say that buying fuel that has simply been rebranded is prohibited for European oil refiners and their customers. According to them, buyers can be held liable even if they were unaware of the origin of potentially sanctioned goods.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO), which advocates for government transparency and whistleblower protection, shared its initial findings with The Washington Post after months of tracking commodity data. When this article was published, the group released its own findings in a report titled “Pentagon Buys Fuel Made From Russian Oil,” written by investigator Jason Paladino.
Most of the additional records WP used for this report came from Refinitiv and Kpler, a platform that tracks global supplies of energy commodities.
“Together, these data show when the product left a specific terminal, who owns the product, on which ships it was shipped and where it was unloaded,” the publication explains. They also analyzed satellite imagery and vessel tracking data from MarineTraffic to confirm vessel visits to ports.
As WP emphasizes, Turkey is hardly a unique country that promotes active sales of Russian fuel products. Refineries in India have been in dire need of Russian oil since the United States and the EU imposed a price ceiling on it. The cap allowed India to secure a lucrative deal on Russian oil, which according to industry figures now accounts for 40% of the oil entering the country, where it is refined and can often be exported to other countries.
Ukraine probably will not receive 1 million artillery shells until March
Critics of the EU’s idea of supplying Ukraine with 1 million artillery shells by March, which is becoming increasingly unlikely, have been skeptical from the start, write Politico.
“We have to assume that 1 million will not be reached,” said German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius at the summit of EU defense ministers.
As the newspaper points out, when the idea was put forward in March last year, there were already fears that it would be unreasonable to put a specific figure related to the deadline for the fulfillment of the munitions obligations, if there was even the slightest doubt about the ability to achieve it.
“The question of whether 1 million was ever realistic was actually correct,” Pistorius adds. “There were voices saying, ‘Be careful. One million is easy to solve, the money is there, but the production must be.” Unfortunately, these voices are right now.”
Politico recalls that at that time the initiative for such an idea came from Estonia in response to Kyiv’s request to provide a sufficient amount of ammunition to counter the Russian offensive, which was gaining momentum: “It cannot be said that it was a complete failure: from February 9, as part of the program 300,000 rounds of ammunition were sent to Ukraine from the national stockpile. But officials are increasingly expressing doubts about reaching the million mark in just four months.”
Diplomats and some ministers blame Europe’s production capacity. At the same time, senior officials of the European Commission pointed to the lack of national contracts, as well as the fact that ammunition suppliers sell shells to countries other than Ukraine.
According to the head of the EU’s foreign policy and security policy, Josep Borrell, one of the ways to ensure the achievement of the set figure would be for defense companies to focus on the supply of more ammunition to Ukraine and less export to other countries.
“Keep in mind that the European defense industry exports a lot – about 40% of production is exported to third countries,” he notes. “So it’s not a lack of production capacity, but the fact that they send their products to [інші] markets So, maybe what we need to do is to try to reorient production to the priority one – Ukrainian.”
Meanwhile, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton puts the blame on countries: “Ammunition production capacity has increased by 20-30%. We plan to increase our production capacity by spring, now it’s up to member states to place orders.”
Boris Pistorius recognized that “close coordination” with the European defense industry is a necessary condition for increasing production and procurement so that “projects can be implemented faster.” And Josep Borrell also emphasized the importance of governments signing agreements with arms manufacturers.
As Politico adds, although the question of aid to Ukraine occupied a prominent place on the agenda of the Council meeting, the defense ministers also approved new priorities for the EU’s defense capabilities. And among the main lessons learned from the example of Ukraine and reflected in the new priorities is the importance of ground forces and integrated air and missile defense.
“The war also showed that quantity is as important as quality when it comes to equipment and ammunition,” the publication concludes.