(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s weekly crude processing picked up in late March after sinking to a 10-month low earlier in the month. 

The nation’s refineries churned through an average of 5.13 million barrels a day March 21-27, according to a person with knowledge of industry data. That’s almost 106,000 barrels a day more than they processed the previous seven days, according to Bloomberg calculations based on historical data.

But the month as a whole saw rates dip. In the first 27 days of March, refinery runs averaged 5.25 million barrels a day, 1.3% below the level through most of February and the lowest monthly rate since May, the data show.

With the invasion of Ukraine in its third year, Kyiv has been using drones to target Russia’s most important industry. The government has defended the strategy, saying it’s seeking to curb fuel supplies to the front line and cut the flow of petrodollars to Kremlin coffers, but US officials have reportedly warned that the attacks risk driving up global oil prices.

Ukrainian drones have damaged 12 major Russian refineries and two smaller plants so far this year, with the latest attack occurring Tuesday at a facility in Nizhnekamsk, about 930 miles from the countries’ border. The total capacity of those sites accounted for more than 30% of Russia’s runs before the assaults started, according to Bloomberg calculations based on industry data.

The actual reduction in crude processing is visibly smaller because most of the affected sites have been able to repair damaged equipment, partly or completely restoring capacity by the end of March. Some other plants have also increased throughput to ensure fuel demand is met.

Risks to Runs

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s insistence that strikes will continue means the recovery in refinery runs may prove short-lived. Processing is also likely to decline once the spring maintenance season gets underway.

The recent uptick in runs was largely led by smaller independent facilities, according to the person familiar. But oil giant Rosneft PJSC also contributed to the growth, with its Ryazan plant near Moscow — hit by drones March 13 — raising processing by almost 85,000 barrels a day week-on-week, the person said.

Two more Rosneft refineries damaged in recent drone assaults — Kuibyshev and Syzran in the Volga region — showed further declines in output, while the southern Tuapse plant, attacked in January, remained offline, the person said.

Gazprom Neft PJSC’s Moscow refinery, which started seasonal maintenance in late March, continued to show lower processing rates, the person said.

Rosneft and Gazprom Neft didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg requests for comment.

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