Moscow: Russia has threatened to close its main gas pipeline to Germany if the West goes ahead with a ban on Russian oil as part of the ongoing Ukraine conflict, the BBC has reported today.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak warned that a “rejection of Russian oil would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market”, causing prices to more than double to $300 a barrel. Novak also said it would take Europe “more than a year” to replace the volume of oil it receives from Russia, and it would have to pay significantly higher prices.
The US and its allies have been mulling over the question of banning Russian oil imports in a bid to punish the latter for its invasion of Ukraine. However, Germany and the Netherlands rejected the plan on Monday.
Also on Monday, oil prices spiked to their highest levels since 2008 after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington and European allies were considering banning Russian oil imports.
The European Union (EU) gets about 40 percent of its gas and 30 percent of its oil from Russia, and does not have alternative supply sources if supplies are disrupted. Novak said it would be “impossible to quickly find a replacement for Russian oil on the European market”, warning that even if they did find other sources, they would prove “mightily expensive” for European consumers.
Russia is the world’s top producer of natural gas and second largest producer of crude oil. Ukraine has been pressing the West to adopt such a ban, but there are concerns that it could send oil prices soaring.
“European politicians need to honestly warn their citizens and consumers what to expect,” Novak said. “If you want to reject energy supplies from Russia, go ahead. We are ready for it. We know where we could redirect the volumes to.”