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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Could A Full Oil Embargo Stop The War In Ukraine?

  • Former Kremlin adviser: real embargo on oil and gas exports from Russia would force quick end of war in Ukraine.
  • The European Union has been discussing an oil embargo on Russia but has stopped short of imposing one.
  • Officials in Brussels continue to discuss an oil embargo.

A "real embargo" on Russian oil could end the war in Ukraine in a matter of months, the BBC has reported, citing a former chief economic adviser to President Putin.

According to Andrei Ilarionov, who resigned in 2005, if the West "would try to implement a real embargo on oil and gas exports from Russia... I would bet that probably within a month or two, Russian military operations in Ukraine, probably will be ceased, will be stopped".

"It's one of the very effective instruments still in the possession of the Western countries," the former Kremlin official also said.

Illarionov was also openly critical of the Russian government, saying that President Putin's "territorial ambitions, his imperial ambitions, are much more important than anything else, including the livelihood of the Russian population and of the financial situation in the country... even the financial state of the his government."

The European Union has been discussing an oil embargo on Russia but has stopped short of imposing one because of its heavy dependence on the commodity, not to mention natural gas where the dependence is a lot heavier.

Even so, officials in Brussels continue to discuss an oil embargo and, according to a Reuters report from Monday, it could become part of the next sanctions package, even though for some member states, such an embargo would constitute an "asymmetric shock".

While the discussions are ongoing, OPEC poured cold water on EU hopes for a quick replacement of Russian oil. Per another report by Reuters, the oil-producing cartel has told the EU it would not be able to fill the gap left by Russian barrels lost to an EU embargo.

"We could potentially see the loss of more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil and other liquids exports, resulting from current and future sanctions or other voluntary actions," the group's chief, Mohammad Barkindo, said in a speech seen by Reuters.

"Considering the current demand outlook, it would be nearly impossible to replace a loss in volumes of this magnitude," Barkindo added.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 12 2022 said:
    Absolutely not for the simple reason that even if Russian oil and gas exports were to be sanctioned, the bulk of Russian oil and gas exports will continue to find welcoming markets in China, India and many other countries and will be bought clandestinely by Western oil and gas traders.

    Moreover, Russian oil and gas exports are irreplaceable now or for the foreseeable future. There is not a single oil and gas producer of even a group of producers who can replace Russian oil and gas exports.

    Furthermore, skyrocketing energy prices will inflict the heaviest damage on the global economy particularly the United States' (in terms of oil) and the EU's (in terms of both oil and gas) and will plunge the global economy in the worst energy crisis in its history since this will involve oil, gas and coal.

    Therefore, the claim by a former chief economic adviser to President Putin that an embargo on Russian oil and gas could stop the Ukraine conflict is false or he may have sold himself to the devil.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • DoRight Deikins on April 12 2022 said:
    Some would say that it would not stop the carnage occurring in Ukraine today, but those are quite possibly the same that said a short two months ago that Russia would not attack Ukraine. Some would state that the all the surplus oil would be sopped up by China, India, and other countries who don't have a cat in the fight, but they are forgetting that China is pretty well full to the brim, and India is constrained by transport and political pressure (not from Biden, but from their own people). Certainly some barrels would get to places that need them, but not in the quantities that Russia needs to sell.

    I don't know if it would do any good to embargo all Russian oil and gas, but if the world can concede to become less dependent on fossil fuels, maybe it could work together to peacefully force Putin to stop the shame he is bringing to many decent Russians, and the death and destruction he is bringing to many good Ukrainians.

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