Moscow Warns of $300/Barrel Oil; Says Western Leaders Should Tell Citizens ‘What Awaits Them’

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak. (Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/ Sputnik /AFP via Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak. (Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/ Sputnik /AFP via Getty Images)

( – A senior Russian official said Monday that calls in the West to stop buying Russian oil would be disastrous for the global market, causing prices to hit $300 a barrel.

The warning from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak came on a day when senior congressional Democrats and Republicans said they had reached agreement on a bill responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that would include a ban on the import of Russian energy products.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier the administration was holding “very active discussions” with European allies about banning the import of Russian oil, while “at the same time maintaining a steady global supply of oil.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday President Biden had made no decision yet on a ban on importing oil from Russia, “and those discussions are ongoing internally and also with our counterparts and partners in Europe and around the world.”

“What the president is most focused on is ensuring we are continuing to take steps to deliver punishing economic consequences on Putin while taking all action necessary to limit the impact to prices at the gas pump,” she said.

Novak said a ban on importing Russian oil would trigger price hikes for fuel, electricity and heating in Europe and the United States.

“It is absolutely obvious that abandoning Russian oil will lead to catastrophic consequences for the world market,” he told reporters. “A surge in prices will be unpredictable – more than $300 per barrel, if not more.”

Brent crude oil soared briefly Monday to $139 per barrel, and was later trading at around $127. The benchmark’s all-time record high was $147.50, in July 2008.

Novak said it would take Europe a year to find alternative sources to replace Russian oil, and European politicians should be honest with their citizens – who will be the main victims – about “what awaits them” in the form of skyrocketing petrol, power and heating bills.

Novak also claimed that while Russia was concerned about the West’s threats to stop buying its oil, it could find other customers.

“If you want to refuse energy supplies from Russia, you can do as you please, we are ready for this,” the TASS state news agency quoted him as saying. “We know where we can redirect these volumes.”

Russia provides 27 percent of the European Union’s oil needs, while other suppliers include Iraq ( 9 percent), Nigeria (7.9 percent), Saudi Arabia (7.7 percent), Kazakhstan (7.3 percent), Norway (7 percent), and the U.S. (5.3 percent).

Europe is also a major consumer of Russian natural gas, relying on it for around 40 percent of its total gas consumption in 2021. (The number two supplier is Norway, at around 16 percent.)

See related story:
German Chancellor Says Europe Can’t Stop Russian Energy Imports Right Now (Mar. 8, 2022)

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