EUROPEAN SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA: OPEC warns the EU

L’OPEC told the European Union on Monday that an oil embargo against Russia would have damaging consequences for oil supplies to the Old Continent. During a meeting in Vienna that brought together European officials and OPEC representatives, the two delegations left on a less than reassuring note regarding the consequences of the new sanctions against Russia on the European Union’s supply of hydrocarbons.

OPEC told the EU delegation that current and future sanctions against Russia could create one of the worst oil supply shocks and that it would be impossible to replace volumes from Russia, so big consuming countries are increasing their calls. OPEC to increase its production.

“We could potentially anticipate a loss of more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil and other hydrocarbon exports, as a result of current and future sanctions or other actions,” OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said. , whose statements were reported by the Reuters agency.

“Given the current prospects for demand, it would be almost impossible to replace a volume loss of this magnitude,” warns the OPEC secretary general. This EU-OPEC meeting is part of the search for alternatives to Russian hydrocarbons launched by the European Commission after the last European summit.

The increase in oil prices as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has accelerated this European search for alternatives to Russian oil and gas. The United States and the International Energy Agency (IEA), in turn, have repeatedly called on OPEC to loosen the floodgates and supply the market with additional quantities. The European Union also reiterated its call during its meeting with

OPEC representatives, in favor of an increase in deliveries to help lower prices. The EU representatives also underlined the role that the Organization must play in balancing the oil markets.

OPEC has always remained unmoved by the incessant calls from consuming countries for an increase in production to cool prices that reached a maximum in 14 years and contributed to a spectacular rise in inflation.

In their meeting with OPEC delegates on Monday, EU officials stressed that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could generate more output from its spare capacity. However, the Secretary General of OPEC responded that the volatility that currently characterizes the oil markets is the result of factors beyond the control of the Organization.

OPEC+, an alliance that brings together OPEC members and other non-OPEC producers, including Russia, agreed to increase production by around 432,000 barrels per day in May, in line with its strategy of lifting progressive production restrictions. .

Oil, like gas, has so far been excluded from EU sanctions against Russia. But some senior EU officials said last week that oil could be the next sector to be on the sanctions list. However, EU countries are hesitant to extend sanctions on oil and gas due to the Old Continent’s heavy dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.

Australia, Canada and the United States, which are less dependent than Europe on Russian supplies, have already banned purchases of Russian oil.

A. TITOUCHE

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