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New Round Of Sanctions Could Suspend Russian Oil, Fuels Exports To U.S.

A new round of sanctions that could come into force in three months could put an end to Russian crude oil and oil product exports to the United States, S&P Platts reports, citing a 1991 law treating the imports of national security-sensitive goods, including crude oil, as well as technology.

The U.S. Congress enacted a set of mandatory sanctions against Russia this week after the State Department announced it had determined that Russia had used chemical or biological weapons in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter that inflamed Russian-EU relations this spring.

The fact of this determination triggered the sanctions, but if now the presidential administration determines that Russia had failed to meet certain chemical and biological weapons-related conditions, another set of even larger sanctions will be enacted. Since the chances of this determination being made are almost a certainty, the next round of sanctions is coming in three months. These would be wider-reaching sanctions that "may include petroleum or any petroleum product," the 1991 law states.

The latest import figures, for May, show that Russia exported an average daily of 130,000 barrels of crude and 361,000 barrels of oil products. The average for 2017 was 336,000 bpd of oil products and 49,000 bpd of crude. For context, the latest Russian total export figure, for July, was 4.735 million bpd. U.S. crude oil imports, on the other hand, averaged 7.9 million bpd in July.

Related: This Is Why Canada Lost The LNG Race

Earlier this month, a group of senators led by Lindsey Graham introduced a new bill proposing further sanctions against Russia—the latest in what is turning into a string of Russia-sanction legislative efforts—this time focusing on investments in energy projects outside of Russia that Russia’s government supports.

According to a statement by the six senators, the bill seeks to punish Russia for its "continued interference in our elections, malign influence in Syria, aggression in Crimea, and other activities" and targets investments in energy projects supported by the Russian government both in the country and abroad.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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