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Oil refinery skirting sanctions to supply the Pentagon with banned Russian petroleum


Daily Caller News Foundation

The Pentagon is buying petroleum products originally sourced from Russia despite a complete ban on Russian oil the Biden administration rolled out in 2022 meant to cripple the Moscow war machine, according to investigations.

A longtime Department of Defense (DOD) supplier in Greece, to comply with the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, told investors it had developed new suppliers to replace Russian-origin products, accordingto a report by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and a Washington Post investigation. In reality, though, Motor Oil Hellas continued purchasing Russian oil rerouted hundreds of miles through a third country not subject to the sanctions, a Post analysis of shipping and trade data showed.

“I don’t see any other possible conclusion than Russian fuel is going to Motor Oil Hellas,” Robert Auers, an analyst for RBN Energy, who examined the Post findings, told the outlet.

The Greek refinery imported fuel oil from the Dortyol shipping terminal in Turkey, according to the Post.

Industry practice of mixing fuel oil sourced from a variety of producers, taken with the quantity of fuel oil imported from the Dortyol facility by Motor Oil Hellas, all but guarantee some Russian oil gets included in the mix, industry experts who reviewed the relevant shipping and trade data told the Post.

Russia has exported 2.7 million barrels of fuel oil by sea to Dortyol since European Union sanctions took effect in February, comprising more than 69% of its total fuel oil imports during that time period, the Post reported, citing data from Refinitiv. Dortyol subsequently exported 7 million barrels, of which 4.2 million were delivered to Motor Oil Hellas, during that same period.

That fuel oil goes to make products the Pentagon uses in aircraft and ships, according to the Post. The exact percentage of DOD imports from Motor Oil Hellas having initial origin point in Russia could not be determined. It’s also possible that some Russian products could have been relabled as originating in another country, but those records are not public.

Since the U.S. ban on Russian petroleum imports in March of 2022, the Pentagon has contracted with Motor Oil Hellas for $1 billion, the Post reported, citing federal contracting data.

The Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which coordinates fuel purchases for DOD needs, denied prior knowledge of the alleged sanctions evasion, according to the Post.

DLA has “no knowledge” of fuel from Russia being routed to the Greek refinery, Joe Yoswa, a DLA spokesperson, told the Post. Agency contractors “are responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable laws and regulations concerning business with Russia and Russian companies,” he said.

But tracing origins “for a specific delivery of refined product would be difficult or impossible,” he said.

“Motor Oil Hellas does not buy, process or trade Russian oil products. All its imports are certified of non sanctioned origin,” the company told POGO in a statement.

The Pentagon and the DLA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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