While the world has been obsessively focused on crude oil and gasoline in recent weeks, we instead alerted readers to a far more dire scenario playing out in diesel, a source of energy which is absolutely critical in keeping the “just in time” world running on time.
As a reminder, here are some of the articles we have published on the topic in recent weeks, many even before the Ukraine war:
- Diesel Is The U.S. Economy’s Inflation Canary – Feb 8
- U.S. Diesel Stocks Set To Fall Critically Low – Feb 18
- China Asks State-Owned Refiners To Halt Gasoline, Diesel Exports – Mar 10
- Global Diesel Shortage Raises Risk Of Even Greater Oil Price Spike – Mar 12
Fast-forward to today, when our warning was echoed by the heads of one of the largest commodity trading houses and the biggest independent oil trader who were speaking at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday.
The corporate leaders estimated that as much as 3 million barrels of oil and its products a day could be lost from Russia as a result of sanctions, in line with previous estimates, and warned that global markets face a squeeze on diesel with Europe most at risk of a “systemic” shortage that could lead to fuel rationing.
“The thing that everybody’s concerned about will be diesel supplies. Europe imports about half of its diesel from Russia and about half of its diesel from the Middle East,” said Russell Hardy, chief of Switzerland-based oil trader Vitol. “That systemic shortfall of diesel is there.”
Those imports mean that Russian supplies account for about 15% of Europe’s diesel consumption, according to the FT which carried their comments.
Hardy said the shift to more diesel consumption over gasoline in Europe had helped to create shortages of the fuel. He added that refineries could boost their diesel output in response to higher prices at the expense of other oil-derived products to shore up supply, but warned that rationing was a possibility.