The sanctions that the United States is imposing on Russia for recognizing two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and sending troops there are not targeting Russian oil and gas flows, nor will they target such flows in subsequent sanctions that could be imposed in the near future, the U.S. said.
"The sanctions that are being imposed today, as well that could be imposed in the near future, are not targeting and will not target oil and gas flows," a senior U.S. State Department official told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.
"We would like the market to take note that there's no need for increasing the price at the moment," the official added.
The U.S. imposed sanctions on Tuesday on two large Russian financial institutions, VEB and Promsvyazbank, "both of which have close links to the Kremlin and the Russian military," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. The U.S. also expanded sanctions on trading with Russian sovereign debt, and began to impose sanctions on members of the Russian elite and their family members.
None of the sanctions announced by the U.S. or the European Union, or the UK, target any Russian bank dealing with Russia's oil and gas transactions, which calmed the market that the West will not target energy supply from the country accounting for over 10 percent of global oil supply and nearly 40 percent of the natural gas Europe imports.
For the United States, there is a delicate balancing act of punishing Vladimir Putin, but not leaving Europe short on oil and gas from its biggest supplier, Russia. Domestically, targeting Russia's energy would mean sending U.S. gasoline prices even higher from the current seven-year-high as many analysts predict that restricting Russian oil and gas exports would send crude oil prices to $120, or even $150 a barrel.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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However, such sanctions will harm those who are imposing them since the United States and the European Union (EU) are among the world’s largest importers of oil and gas.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London