MOSCOW (Reuters) - Poland remained largest importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Russia in the first quarter, accounting for around 34% of total LPG exports from Moscow, despite political tensions between the two countries, based on Reuters' calculations and traders' data,
In January - March, Poland's total imports of seaborne LPG rose by 44.3%, year on year, to 279,000 tonnes, partially replacing overland Russian-sourced fuel, based on the data.
LPG is mainly used as fuel for cars, heating and to produce other petrochemicals.
Traders said the growth of LPG seaborne supplies to Poland was supported by lower-cost fuel supplied by tankers from North-West Europe compared with the cost of propane-butane supplied from Russia and Kazakhstan via land border crossings.
They also said that Poland's large LPG suppliers, such as PKN Orlen and Primagaz, part of the largest international LPG distributor SHV Energy, refused to purchase Russian propane-butane in spring 2022, increasing LPG imports through the ports of Szczecin and Gdansk.
In addition, LPG imports via the Alpetrol terminal in the port of Gdynia increased more than sevenfold in the first quarter of 2023 from the same period in 2022, based on Refinitiv data.
The main LPG supplier to Poland's ports in January-March was Sweden, based on Refinitiv Eikon ship-tracking data, which accounted for 59.7% (167,000 tonnes) of total volumes of sea imports.
Other major suppliers were the UK, the Netherlands and Norway with the shares of 10.6%, 10.0% and 9.8% respectively. The share of LPG seaborne deliveries from Russia to Poland in the first quarter of 2023 rose to 6.7% from 2.9% in January-March 2022 due to an increase in shipments by Sibur from the Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga to 19,000 tonnes from 6,000 tonnes.
Total Russian LPG exports to Poland in the first quarter stood at 350,000 tonnes. In 2022, Poland increased LPG seaborne imports by 73% to 1.014 million tonnes, compared with 585,000 tonnes in 2021, according to Reuters calculations based on Refinitiv data.
Russia also exports LPG to China, Mongolia, the Baltic countries, as well as to Turkey, Balkans and other global regions.
(Reporting by Reuters. Editing by Jane Merriman)