When it comes to oil&gas the ‘lesser of two evils’ principle applies

Brussels, 20 April 2022 – The issue is: we have to put an embargo as soon as possible on oil and gas imports from Russia because the longer we wait the easier is for the Kremlin to find alternative buyers, other countries to export to.

But the fact many European countries don’t have alternative sources of energy and cannot compensate asap with imports from elsewhere, this is blocking the necessary embargo.

This is necessary as sanctions, so far, did not hit Putin’s regime as it was expected and China (and maybe India) which haven’t condemned the invasion of Ukraine, are available to help Putin boosting their energy imports from the Russian Federation.

Pakistan, before ex-president Imran Khan was ousted, signed a contract for a gas stream with Russia: yes, it is a new constriction, but it gives an idea of the dynamics by which Putin is moving on the chessboard.

This Wednesday has been the boost-day for sanctions on Russia: EU Council president Charles Michel went in Kiev for close talks with Zelensky who already asked multiple times for Russian oil and gas embargo, meanwhile in Brussels MEPs of the foreign affairs committee asked all member states to impose an immediate oil embargo on Russia as sanctions did not deterred aggression so far. This came the following day French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that at European Union a full embargo on Russian oil was being discussed.

We have to see what kind of answer will come up from the 27: the bloc has a 84% overall dependency on oil imports and in particular from Russia imports 45% of crude oil and derivative products.

For some countries therefore is tougher to fill up the gap a full stop on Russian oil would generate.

The EU country importing the most of oil from Russia is Germany with 34% of its oil imports from the Federation; right today foreign minister Annalena Baerbock announced the country will halve gas imports until August and then stop imports from Russia altogether.

While waiting for a common EU policy on the massive embargo on Russian oil and gas IEA set its 10 points plan which would pave the way to renewables and final independence from Russian energy.

On top of the ‘The 10 Commandments’ of IEA:

1) Do not sign any new gas supply contracts with Russia. [Impact: Enables greater diversification of supply this year and beyond]

2) Replace Russian supplies with gas from alternative sources [Impact: Increases non-Russian gas supply by around 30 billion cubic metres within a year]

Some have already started, like Italy which turned to Algeria; yes another regime of repressive autocrats: when it comes to oil and gas there’s no way to save your soul, you can only choose the lesser of the two evils.