Javier Albisu |
Brussels (EFE).- After coal and crude oil comes diesel. The ban on importing this hydrocarbon and other oil derivatives from Russia enters into force this Sunday in the European Union and is added to the mechanism of sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine that seeks to financially suffocate the Kremlin.
“We anticipate that we will be ready to secure sufficient alternative supplies (…). We successfully went through a similar process with crude oil,” European Commission Energy spokesman Tim McPhie told EFE, referring to the veto on crude oil purchases in force since last December, in addition to coal from August.
Of the new prohibited derivatives, the biggest challenge is the ban on diesel, the fuel used by nearly half of the cars in the EU and the majority of heavy and maritime transport and machinery.
Around 40% of EU imports came from Russia before the war, but Brussels is confident that the transition period from the announcement of the sanctions in June until they are applied in February has been “long enough” to guarantee ” alternative supply routes and minimize the impact on global markets for refined products,” adds McPhie.
Less dependency on Russia
Until the invasion of Ukraine, the EU had a huge energy dependency on Russia, and Putin has cashed in a year on a historic energy crisis.
Moscow has invoiced the EU 140,000 million euros in coal, gas and oil since the war began on February 24, 2022, according to the Center for Research in Energy and Clean Air (CREA), compared to 99,000 million. of 2021.
However, the trend has been changing and in the last quarter of the year the purchases of oil products from the EU to Russia fell to 14.14% of total imports, compared to 25.9% in the first quarter, according to Eurostat data.
“Our measures are hitting the core of the Russian economy,” the President of the European Commission, Usrula Von der Leyen, said on Thursday during a visit to kyiv, who celebrated in particular that the energy revenues that the EU provided to Russia are dwindling in around 160 million euros per day.
In parallel to the sanctions that Western countries apply in their own territories, the EU, the G7 (Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) and Australia have established other measures that seek to hit the energy sector Russian also in the global market.
Since December, that bloc of Ukraine’s allies has applied a cap of $60 per barrel to the price at which its shipping companies can transport Russian crude to third countries.
These countries have just closed negotiations to establish another maximum for the transport of diesel and other Russian oil derivatives, set at $100 and $45, respectively.
“This would allow Russian refined products (and especially diesel) to flow to third countries if they are sold below the cap. This will limit Russian revenue and prevent market tightness. So it will also help address inflation and keep energy costs stable, just like crude oil does,” McPhie reasons.
Oil and coal are products that are generally transported by ship and can be substituted in the global market.
Hungary negotiated an exemption from the import ban because it receives oil from Russia through pipelines, but the bulk of member states can turn to the United States, India and the Middle East for oil.
But diversifying the gas that travels through pipelines is more difficult and the EU has never sanctioned this Russian hydrocarbon, but it has been Moscow that has progressively reduced shipments to put pressure on Brussels until it goes from 39.3% of imports in 2021 to 15% at the end of 2022.
Despite the notable drop in imports of 66% in volume, it has hardly been noticed on the bill for a year of energy crisis where gas prices broke all historical records: Russia entered the EU about 51,333 million euros for purchases of gas in 2022 compared to 58,000 million in 2021, when it pumped more than double.