Europe is determined to ban—fully or partially—imports of Russian oil and gas, a senior White House advisor said on Friday.
Europe has been under pressure to decrease its reliance on Russian energy, including coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear fuel in order to starve Russia of its main income stream.
“I have confidence that Europe is getting the message, and they are determined to close off this last source of export revenue,” Daleep Singh, deputy White House national security advisor, told CNN in an interview.
But several particularly oil-dependent countries in Europe, including Germany, have so far refused to support an immediate or full ban on Russian oil and gas.
“It’s important that they do this as soon as they can,” Singh said, adding that they need to do it “in a way that’s smart.”
According to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, a full EU ban on Russian crude oil and gas imports could have unintended economic consequences for both the United States and its Western allies. While Yellen agrees that the EU needs to reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas, “we need to be careful when we think about a complete ban on, say, oil imports,” Yellen said on Thursday.
The sticking point is finding a way to hurt Russia’s finances without raising the price of oil and gas, hurting Europe and the United States.
Even if all EU members were to agree on such an energy ban, it would still take months to draft and prepare, European officials said last week. The EU is already in talks with other oil-producing countries with the end goal of obtaining alternative oil suppliers so it can more readily wean itself off Russian oil supply.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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