How Dubai became ‘the new Geneva’ for Russian oil trade

  • Date: 19-Jul-2023
  • Source: Financial Times
  • Sector:Oil & Gas
  • Country:UAE
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How Dubai became ‘the new Geneva’ for Russian oil trade

For decades, the lakeside city of Geneva was home to many of the traders who sold Russia’s oil to consumers around the world. But since Switzerland joined the embargo imposed on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine much of that trade has shifted to Dubai and other cities in the United Arab Emirates.

Companies registered in the small Gulf state bought at least 39mn tonnes of Russian oil worth more than $17bn between January and April — around a third of the country’s exports declared to customs during that period — according to Russian customs documentation analysed by the Financial Times.

Some of that oil ended up in the UAE, ship-tracking data shows, landing at storage terminals in places such as Fujairah. The rest — about 90 per cent — never touched Emirati soil, instead flowing from Russian ports directly to new buyers in Asia, Africa and South America as part of one of the biggest redirections of global energy flows in history.

The energy trading industry in the UAE was already growing before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But the conflict, and the western sanctions that followed it, have supercharged that growth.

Out of the top 20 traders of Russian crude in the