If Western countries implemented a “real embargo” on Russian oil and gas, then Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could come to a halt in just a couple of months, a former chief economic adviser to Putin told the BBC.
“I would bet that probably within a month or two, Russian military operations in Ukraine, probably will be ceased, will be stopped,” Dr. Andrei Illarionov, who resigned from his post as chief economic adviser to the Kremlin in 2005, told the British news outlet.
“It’s one of the very effective instruments still in the possession of the Western countries.”
Oil is Russia’s most lucrative export, making up more than a third of the country’s export revenues last year. Russia’s finance ministry said they expect to bring in an additional $ 9.6 billion in energy sales in April due to the high price of oil in recent weeks.
The European Union banned coal imports from Russia last week, but have so far declined to ban Russian oil imports over fears that it would push oil prices even higher.
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President Biden targeted “the main artery of Russia’s economy” when he announced a ban on Russian oil imports last month, which accounted for about 8% of all oil imports in the United States last year.
“Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,” the president said in announcing the ban.
Biden announced the release of about 1 million barrels from the strategic reserve last month to combat rising prices and took aim at oil companies, accusing them of not “doing their part” and “choosing to make extraordinary profits and without making additional investment to help with supply. ”
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Republicans, meanwhile, have criticized the Biden administration for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought oil from Canada to the US
“The United States imports nearly 600,000 barrels of oil a day from Russia — an amount that could have been made up for by more than 800,000 barrels of oil the Keystone XL pipeline is capable of delivering each day if the Biden administration had not stood in the way, “Sen. Tim Scott, RS.C., wrote in an op-ed for Fox News last month.
Biden also temporarily paused oil and gas lease sales on public lands during his first days in office, and has been taken to court by several states opposed to the break, but the Biden administration said they would restart them last month.
Democratic members of the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, meanwhile, have criticized oil companies for alleged price gouging. Democrats and the Biden administration discourage banks from financing oil and gas projects and operations as part of their strategy to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and the Biden administration frequently promotes electric vehicles to replace internal combustion engines. At the same time, the Biden administration has courted the likes of Iran and Venezuela to make up for oil production lost from canceling the Keystone XL and to replace Russian oil, moves energy experts see as political and wrongheaded.
Ryan Sitton, an oil and gas engineer, founder of Pinnacle Reliability, and former Texas energy regulator with experience in Venezuela, said the Biden administration and Democrats are “retained to this anti-oil and gas narrative that is so disruptive to the US economy.” ”
“If you’re going to win a Democrat primary, you’ve got to be so hardcore anti-oil and gas that any hint of being thoughtful or being pro US energy is almost untenable,” he told Fox Business in March.
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US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down to $ 94.79 a barrel on Monday after hitting a 14-year high of $ 123.70 on March 7.
An average gallon of gas in the United States was $ 4.11 on Monday, down from about $ 4.33 a month ago, according to AAA.
Reuters contributed to this report.