Cargo of Russia’s flagship Urals crude heads to Cuba

Cargo of Russia's flagship Urals crude heads to Cuba

HAVANA, Sept 15th (Reuters) A cargo of Russia’s flagship crude oil was heading to Cuba on Thursday, ship tracking data showed, the latest import of Russian oil under sanctions by the Caribbean nation, which has an energy crisis.

The Liberia-flagged tanker Kazan loaded about 700,000 barrels of Russia’s Urals crude at the Baltic port of Primorsk last week and is on its way to discharge later this month at a refinery in Havana, according to Refinitiv Eikon.

The tanker is managed by Sun Ship Management since April, according to the shipping database Equasis. Sun SM, previously called SCF Management Services, is a unit of Russia’s Sovcomflot, according to the parent company’s website. Sovcomflot is under U.S., British and Canadian sanctions.

Cuba, which generates most of its electricity from fuel oil and its own heavy crude production, has snapped up cheap Russian oil and diesel in recent months to complement domestic output and imports from political ally and main oil supplier Venezuela.

President Miguel Diaz Canel has criticized high global fuel prices amid power cuts and fuel rationing in the communist-ruled Caribbean island.

The Cuban government reshuffled energy operations after an August fire damaged a big portion of its largest oil terminal, Matanzas. It has turned to float storage and ship-to-ship transfers for recent imports.

Last week, the tanker Transsib Bridge carrying Russia-origin diesel discharged in Cuba after a brief stop in Colombia.

Cuba’s foreign ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

For Russia, Cuba provides an outlet for oil that has been sanctioned over the country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Europe and the United Kingdom are moving toward an end-of-year embargo on Russian crude imports.