Russia raised exports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to China via railways by 35% to 202,000 metric tons last year, according to Reuters calculations based on industry data, diverting flows from Europe after sanctions over its actions in Ukraine.

The EU adopted a 12th package of sanctions against Russia in December, introducing a new LPG import ban, to top up wide-ranging trading restrictions.

Traders believe that Russia will continue to increase supplies of LPG, or propane and butane, to China thanks to available exporting infrastructure despite congested railways.

Market sources said that the Irkutsk Oil Company (INK) and BerezkaGas, main suppliers of Russian LPG to China, have plans to boost sales to the country. INK accounted for almost half of Russian LPG railway exports to China in 2023.

Neither company replied immediately to requests for comment.

Russian energy giant Rosneft and mid-sized oil producer Tatneft also export the fuel to China.

There is a room to increase such exports further. China accounted for only 6% of last year's Russian 3.6 million tons of LPG exports.

The Zabaikalsk-Manchuria border crossing is the main route for the Russian LPG exports to China, with the Manzhouli Far East Gas terminal able to handle 1 million tons of LPG per year. (Reporting by Damir Khalmetov Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by David Goodman)