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FRIDAY, September 30, 2022
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U.S. can easily do without Russian oil following Biden ban - analyst

U.S. can easily do without Russian oil following Biden ban - analyst

WEDNESDAY, March 09, 2022

A ban on Russian energy imports to the United States announced March 08 by President Joe Biden simply codifies the existing reality of an embargo, an energy analyst said, and the US will have no trouble managing without Russian oil.

Many buyers were already avoiding Russian oil, Robert Yawger, Energy Futures Strategist at Mizuho, pointed out.

“Today’s Biden announcement really didn’t change anything,” he said.

Shell PLC SHEL.L said it would stop all spot purchases of Russian crude after drawing criticism for a purchase made on March 4.

Oil prices settled around 4% higher on Tuesday as the United States banned Russian oil imports and Britain said it will phase them out by year-end, decisions that are expected to further disrupt the global energy market as Russia is the second-largest exporter of crude.

Oil prices have surged more than 30% since Russia invaded Ukraine, and the United States and other countries imposed a raft of sanctions. The sanctions had already upended Russian oil and gas exports even before the ban, as traders sought to avoid running afoul of future sanctions.

The U.S. imports little oil from Russia, Yawger said, and can easily adjust to the loss of imports.

“Here in the United States, I mean, we imported 200,000 barrels a day. We imported about 450,000 barrels of product… so we can definitely exist without that. It’s a spit in the bucket,” he said.

But it’s a different story for the European Union, Yawger said.

“The Eurozone, we’re talking percentage points, double digits. So it’s a totally different game,” he said.

But by not imposing an energy ban right away, the EU has given itself some strategic leeway, Yawger said.

“If the Russians are on the verge of taking Kyiv, for example, the Europeans may decide at the point may decide to use that no Russian crude oil bullet at that strategic time,” he said.

Britain has said it will phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022, giving the market and businesses time to find alternatives.

Russia ships 7 million to 8 million barrels per day of crude and fuel to global markets.

International sanctions and the de facto energy embargo will have a severe impact on the Russian economy, Yawger said, due to its lack of diversity.

“They have nuclear weapons and they have energy. And that’s kind of it. And it’s a two-pony town at the end of the day,” he said.

“So you shut down the energy sector there’s not a lot of cash flowing in and they start to feel the pinch quickly,” he added.

The sanctions will soon make prices rise in Russia, Yawger said, putting pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin at home.

The import bans could send global oil prices up to $200 a barrel, analysts at Oslo-based consultancy Rystad Energy said. Before the U.S. ban was announced, Goldman Sachs had raised its Brent forecast for 2022 to $135 from $98 and its 2023 outlook to $115 a barrel from $105, saying the world economy could face the "largest energy supply shocks ever" because of Russia's key role.

Some market watchers said oil's rally was overdone, and crude briefly gave up most gains around an hour before settlement. Traders attributed the retreat to reports about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky no longer pressing for NATO membership.

Ukraine's pursuit of NATO membership has been a key point of contention in negotiations with Russia.

Dimming expectations for an imminent return of Iranian crude to global markets have added upward pressure on prices as talks have slowed down between Tehran and world powers.