Biden bans US imports of Russian oil and gas in attempt to punish Putin

President Joe Biden has banned Russian oil and gas imports to the U.S. as Washington increases economic sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine in a bid to deny it revenue.

The move is in line with a UK ban on Russian oil imports, but the EU did not follow suit and instead unveiled a plan to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds within a year.

The US decision opens a new front in efforts to isolate Russia from the world economy, following moves to impose sanctions on Russian central banks, government officials and oligarchs, as well as its central bank.

“Russian oil will no longer be acceptable in US ports and the American people will land another strong blow [Vladimir] Putin’s war machine, “Biden said in a speech at the White House.

But a ban on US and UK imports would be far less disruptive to global markets than a full international embargo, as only a small portion of Russian shipments go to both of those markets.

The ban came after days of debate within the Biden administration and between the US and Western allies over the benefits of the Russian energy ban on punishing President Vladimir Putin for the attack on Ukraine, as well as the risk it could provoke a new shock in global energy markets.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson has announced that he will gradually stop importing Russian oil by the end of the year.

Kwasi Quarteng, the secretary of business, said the UK government would organize an “orderly move” away from Russian oil imports. But British Chancellor Rishe Sonk said at a cabinet meeting that consumers would pay a price for the ban, with a special impact on lower-income households.

Britain is less dependent on Russia than most of continental Europe, with Russian supplies accounting for 8% of total oil imports to Britain. Johnson is expected to announce later this week a reduction in British gas imports.

Germany has so far opposed any EU ban on buying Russian crude oil. German Chancellor Olaf Schultz said on Monday that he would prefer to exert “sustainable” pressure on Moscow not to impose too great a burden on German consumers. Developing alternatives to Russian energy, he said, “can not be done overnight.”

Biden said: “We are promoting this ban on the understanding that many of our European allies and partners will not be in a position to join us. But we are working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long-term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well.”

Russia – the world’s largest exporter of crude and petroleum products – shipped nearly 8 million barrels a day to global markets late last year, according to the International Energy Agency. About 60% of Russia’s oil exports go to Europe, including about 2% to the UK, while 8% come to the US. China accounts for about 20 percent.

Biden faced heavy pressure from members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, to plow ahead with a ban on imports of Russian oil, but resisted in an attempt to keep energy flowing around the world and prevent fuel prices from rising sharply at home. .

The U.S. president has warned that “protecting freedom” will bring costs to America in the form of higher prices as well, but he told U.S. energy companies not to take advantage of the increases.

The White House said Americans, too, would be banned from “financing or allowing foreign companies” that invest in Russian energy production.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned Monday night that a potential ban could cause oil prices to double to $ 300 a barrel. He also said that Russia had the option to turn off gas supplies to Europe through the original Nord Stream pipeline, but it chose not to do so so far because “no one will benefit from it”.

Brent crude rose 6.5 percent Tuesday to $ 131 a barrel as traders reacted to news of the U.S. ban. The West Texas Intermediate index rose $ 127 by a similar margin.

Muhammad Barkindo, secretary general of the OPEC group of producers, warned that there would be no way to fill the gaps left by Russian oil in the event of a comprehensive embargo.

“There is no capacity in the world right now that can replace 7 million barrels of exports,” he told the CERAWeek Energy Conference in Houston on Monday.

Oil prices have risen in recent days as many large oil consumers boycotted Russian oil even before the announcement of an official ban on raw imports. Brent and West Texas Intermediate both ended 2021 at less than $ 80 a barrel.

The EU on Tuesday unveiled a plan to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds within a year. Moscow supplies 40% of the bloc’s gas and a quarter of its crude oil.

Brussels aims to import more liquefied natural gas, increase the amount of wind and solar energy, produce biogas and reduce demand by insulating homes and asking people to reduce central heating.

Biden bans US imports of Russian oil and gas in attempt to punish Putin Source link Biden bans US imports of Russian oil and gas in attempt to punish Putin

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