That quarter of oil in change of our democracy

London, 31 May 2022 – The EU ban on oil imports from Russia will be gradual and top 90% at the end of 2022, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the end of the EU summit tonight.

There’s a margin of time for the Kremlin to arrange new trade agreements with other regimes over the next six months, but the damage will certainly hit Russia and impact its effectiveness on the Ukrainian war. That’s because Russia export to the EU 45% of its oil and petroleum derivatives (29% +16%).

Clearly the impact on EU it’s huge as well; as big as the threat we all feel coming from Russian aggression and consequent destabilisation of the international order. All is changing, trade will change including relations and future agreements with countries Europe wouldn’t have considered before as main oil and gas suppliers.

In addition to the renewables strategies, which are not filling the gap, the EU members are looking to the nearest countries they already import oil from, such as Norway, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia.

The gap to fill in is huge, a quarter of EU oil overall imports comes from Russia

Among the main extra EU suppliers the US, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia. Apart from the first, countries with close relations with Russia and unstable would represent an issue, the same way it is for the gas supply from Algeria to Italy, as the north African country is not just a regime, but holds close friendship with Putin and consequently abstained in the UN Assembly vote condemning invasion of Ukraine.

For the first time in history Europe as a continent finds itself unite in the common struggle to defend its democratic system built over centuries of revolutions, social infighting, World Wars. Our western democracies might be crap and under continue threat of being dragged into technological autocracies, but are the only ones we have (as Churchill might say nowadays). Behind the urgency of energy independence there’s the ultimate attempt to rebuild that invisible wall we though in 1989 could never be raised up again; it’s a defensive strategy, though, we don’t know where will lead us to.

Meanwhile Brent crude rose to $2.31, or 1.9%, to $123.98 a barrel, its highest since last 9th March. All point to the urgent renewable strategy, the one innocent school strike young protesters have been talking about from five years. Useless to point this out: facts speak for themselves.