Russian seaborne crude oil exports are “close to frozen” as owners and buyers retreat in fear of energy sanctions and reputational risk.

This is according to SEB Research in Norway, which pointed to a big drop in the number of tankers showing for business from western Russian ports following the invasion of Ukraine.

“There has been a sharp tightening in the physical oil market following the substantial sanctions towards Russia,” SEB said.

“Sanctions have exempted Russian energy exports. But the fear alone that there might indeed be sanctions also on energy is currently preventing shippers from taking oil cargoes from Russia,” the investment bank added.