In a series of meetings starting on Monday, EU leaders will discuss whether to phase out the region’s largest oil supplier, having already committed to Cut off the use of Russian natural gas By 66% this year.
“We have to discuss how we can support Ukraine further, politically and economically, with humanitarian aid and security, everything is on the table. So we can ensure that we will do what we can to stop Putin and his aggression against Ukraine,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told reporters. “It is important With economic sanctions to continue on this path.”
Russia is the second largest oil exporter in the world, after Saudi Arabia, and despite the unprecedented shocking impact Western financial sanctions and embargo announced by the United States and the United Kingdom, still earning Hundreds of millions of dollars a day of energy exports.
“I think it is inevitable to start talking about the energy sector. We can certainly talk about oil, because it is the biggest revenue for the Russian budget,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis upon his arrival in Brussels to meet with his Lithuanian counterpart. counterparts in the European Union.
Other countries in the European Union support the idea of hitting Russia’s most valuable asset with sanctions.
“Given the extent of the devastation in Ukraine at the moment, it is very difficult – in my opinion – to prove that we should not move into the energy sector, particularly oil and coal, in terms of boycotting normal trade in that,” said Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.
The European Union currently depends on Russia for about 40% of its natural gas. Russia also supplies about 27% of oil imports, and 46% of coal imports.
What will Germany do?
Earlier this month, European Union leaders said the bloc could not yet join the United States in banning Russian oil, due to the impact on households and industries already grappling with record high prices. Instead, they said they would work toward a The deadline is 2027 to end the dependency of the bloc on Russian energy.
There is also a risk that Russia will retaliate by restricting natural gas exports. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said this month that Moscow might cut off gas supplies to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline as punishment. Berlin is blocking the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
However, political opinion may intensify in Europe as Russia intensifies its attacks on Ukrainian cities, killing hundreds of civilians and forcing millions to flee their homes.
Much will return to countries such as Germany, Russia’s largest energy consumer in Europe, as well as other countries that buy much of its gas, such as Hungary and Italy.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Birbock said the country was “working at full speed” to end its dependence on Russia, but that, like some other EU countries, it could not stop buying Russian oil from day to day.
“If we can do it spontaneously,” she said, according to Reuters.
Even without an EU ban – and any potential Russian counterattack – the world faces its biggest energy supply shock in decades, According to the International Energy Agency. It said last week that Russia may have to cut crude oil production by 30% starting next month due to declining demand.
Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia have already banned imports of Russian oil, affecting nearly 13% of Russia’s exports. And the moves of major oil companies and international banks to stop dealing with Moscow after the invasion is forcing Russia to offer its crude at a huge discount.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency, which monitors energy supplies for the world’s leading advanced economies, said Russian production could fall by 3 million barrels per day.
“The implications of a possible loss of Russian oil exports to world markets cannot be underestimated,” the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report.