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U.S. bans imports of Russian oil, LNG, coal; UK to phase out imports of Russian oil

09 Mar 2022

The United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (UK) on Tuesday (8 March) issued sanctions against Russian oil in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The development saw US President Biden signing an Executive Order (E.O.) to ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the United States.

The U.S. Executive Order bans:

  • The importation into the United States of Russian crude oil and certain petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, and coal. Last year, the U.S. imported nearly 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Russia and this step will deprive Russia of billions of dollars in revenues from U.S. drivers and consumers annually.
  • New U.S. investment in Russia’s energy sector, which will ensure that American companies and American investors are not underwriting Vladimir Putin’s efforts to expand energy production inside Russia.
  • Americans will also be prohibited from financing or enabling foreign companies that are making investment to produce energy in Russia.

“The United States made this decision in close consultation with our Allies and partners around the world, as well as Members of Congress of both parties,” it said.

“The United States is able to take this step because of our strong domestic energy infrastructure and we recognize that not all of our Allies and partners are currently in a position to join us.

“But we are united with our Allies and partners in working together to reduce our collective dependence on Russian energy and keep the pressure mounting on Putin, while at the same taking active steps to limit impacts on global energy markets and protect our own economies.”

According to the U.S., over 30 countries representing well over half the world’s economy have announced sanctions that impose immediate and severe economic costs on Russia, cut off access to high-tech technology, sap its growth potential, and weaken its military for years to come.

The Russian ruble is now worth less than a penny and has hit an all-time low after losing almost half of its value since Putin announced his further invasion of Ukraine.

UK Response to Russo-Ukrainian war

UK, meanwhile, will be phase out imports of Russian oil in response to Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine by the end of the year, states UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

The phasing out of imports will not be immediate, but instead allows the UK more than enough time to adjust supply chains, supporting industry and consumers. The government will work with companies through a new Taskforce on Oil to support them to make use of this period in finding alternative supplies.

Russian imports account for 8% of total UK oil demand, but the UK is also a significant producer of both crude oil and petroleum products, in addition to imports from a diverse range of reliable suppliers beyond Russia including the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and USA.

“In another economic blow to the Putin regime following their illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK will move away from dependence on Russian oil throughout this year, building on our severe package of international economic sanctions,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“Working with industry, we are confident that this can be achieved over the course of the year, providing enough time for companies to adjust and ensuring consumers are protected.”

According to the UK government, Russian oil is already being ostracised by the market, with nearly 70% of Russian oil currently struggling to find a buyer, and in a competitive global market demand will quickly be met by alternative suppliers.

On 1 March Russian ships were banned from UK ports and authorities were granted new powers to detain Russian vessels.

Related: Russo-Ukrainian war: Singapore imposes financial measures at designated Russian banks, activities
Related: Russo-Ukrainian war: Peninsula stops business operations with Russian entities
Related: Standard Club: More sanctions are issued against Russia by the EU, UK, and US
Related: Helmsman: Practical tips for bunkering, commodities sectors on compliance with Russian sanctions
Related: EC unveils ‘maximum impact’ sanctions against Russia war effort on Ukraine


Photo credit: Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash
Published: 9 March, 2022

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