May 20, 2022

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Oil, Russia is already suffering and the European embargo is on the way

Not anymore, but how: European efforts are about to translate into a ban on Russian oil imports, to be included in the next package of sanctions. Meanwhile, the Kremlin is struggling to put the product in place — and NASA satellites visualize production slumping

The European Union is officially heading towards an embargo on Russian oil. The Commission is working around the reluctance of some member states (first of all Germany) to ensure that the next package of sanctions, the sixth, will “definitely” contain a measure to limit oil imports from Moscow, such as confirmed by a commission official on Wednesday. After the adjustment period expires, the impact on the European Union comes second Bruegel It can be fully managed.

Berlin has already indicated that it intends to halt Russian oil supplies by the end of the year; In Brussels they are looking for ways to speed up and reduce the costs of maneuvering. A source in the authority revealed that a Reuters led by the team Ursula von der Leyen In dialogue with oil-producing countries to facilitate the regulation of supply agreements, quickly and at a low price, at the national level. At the same time, it is preparing an assessment of the impact of the Russian oil embargo on member states possibly as early as next week.

The biggest opposition to the comprehensive blockade comes from Germany, which imported a third of its crude oil from Russia in 2021. But according to rumors it has obtained ReutersDropping Berlin’s veto would also push other countries against it to change their minds. So we see a compromise: extending the phase-out period for Russian oil imports, as happened with coal (it was Germany that extended the tolerance window from three to four months). Von der Leyen spoke to Bild am Sonntag One of the “smart mechanisms” to achieve the inclusion of oil in the sanctions package. we are talking Also to distinguish between different types of petroleum products.

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It is difficult to underestimate the extent of the damage the oil embargo could do to the Kremlin, as it is its largest source of revenue besides gas, given that the European Union absorbs half of Russian exports. In fact, many Western companies have not already unilaterally stopped trade with Russia. The mere prospect of a European blockade has prompted operators to be wary, to the point that the Russian oil market today is much smaller – and Moscow must offer it at bargain prices to those willing to buy it. For this reason, according to the commission, the Kremlin is “already losing money.”

The effect of “spontaneous” sanctions is already quantifiable without going through Russian official statements, subject to the denigration of the Kremlin, which does everything To hide the damage to the Russian economy. But Russian President Vladimir Putin It cannot hide the behavior of its oil companies from the eyes of the satellites, which could reveal that Moscow (about two months after the invasion) is “succumbing” to the blows of government sanctions and the self-restrictions of Western companies.

Using NASA images, OilX analysts They measured Brightness of flames produced in oil fields in Siberia. This data, along with anecdotal information from market participants and rumors filtered by Russian officials, drove this data. Bloomberg To estimate that average Russian oil production has fallen to just over 10 million barrels per day compared to 11 in March. Analysts expect the decline to continue.

The upcoming sanctions will not only affect oil. According to rumors, a blockade of Russian nuclear fuel is also expected, On which many countries in Eastern Europe depend, based on a German proposal. the exclusion of two other banks, Sberbank and Gazpromneft, from the SWIFT international payment system (a move that would leave only Gazprombank “linked” to the system), the suspension of Russian visas and Close other Russian broadcasters, including the RTR-Planeta and R24. In the meantime, the date of May 4 is approaching, which is most likely will score The actual default of Russia.

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