Oil hits 13-year high as Blinken signals openness to a ban on Russian oil imports

Oil prices surged to a 13-year high on Sunday as US officials signaled an openness to a ban on Russian oil imports amid Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

West Texas Intermediate Crude, the US benchmark, rose 9.5% to $ 126.64 a barrel as of 7:00 PM on Sunday evening. Brent Crude, the international benchmark, shot up 12% to $ 130.98 a barrel.

WTI hit an all-time high of $ 147.27 and Brent hit $ 147.50 in July 2008.

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An oil treatment plant in the Yarakta Oil Field, owned by Irkutsk Oil Company (INK), in Irkutsk Region, Russia. (REUTERS / Vasily Fedosenko)

The Biden administration has issued a rash of sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, but has left the country’s oil industry largely unscathed so far.

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That could change this week as Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that the administration is coordinating with key allies to potentially ban imports of Russian oil.

“We are now in very active discussions with our European partners about banning the import of Russian oil to our countries, while of course, at the same time, maintaining a steady global supply of oil,” Blinken told NBC Sunday.

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A bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill to ban Russian oil on Thursday.

Blinken also told CBS Sunday that the US has made “real progress” in reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which could see Iranian crude reintroduced to the market, but a “couple of very challenging” issues remain.

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The national average for gas prices crossed $ 4 a gallon for the first time since 2008 on Sunday, currently sitting at $ 4,009, according to AAA. The all-time high was $ 4,114 a gallon in July 2008.

Dow futures, meanwhile, slid more than 1%, or 346 points, on Sunday evening. NASDAQ futures fell 2.01% and S&P 500 futures dropped 1.50%.

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