Global oil prices jump again as EU considers Russian oil ban

Prices moved higher before this week’s talks between EU governments and Biden that aim to harden the West’s response to Moscow over Ukraine.

A protester holds a sign during a rally against fuel price hikes in Quezon City, Philippines
A protester holds a sign during a rally against fuel price increases in Quezon City, Metro Manila in the Philippines [File: Rolex Dela Pena/EPA]

Global oil prices have jumped more than $3 a barrel, with Brent crude climbing above $111, as the European Union nations consider joining the United States in a Russian oil embargo and after a weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities.

Brent crude futures were up $3.40 on Monday, or 3.2 percent, at $111.33 a barrel by 09:58 GMT, adding to a 1.2 percent rise last Friday.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $3.65, or 3.5 percent, to $108.35, extending a 1.7 percent jump last Friday.

Prices moved higher before talks this week between EU governments and US President Joe Biden in a series of summits that aim to harden the West’s response to Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

EU governments will consider whether to impose an oil embargo on Russia.

On Monday morning, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vershchuk said there was no chance the country’s forces would surrender in the besieged eastern port city of Mariupol.

With little sign of the conflict easing, the focus returned to whether the market would be able to replace Russian barrels hit by sanctions.

On Monday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the embargo was unrealistic as EU countries still largely depend on Russian oil and gas for their energy supply and cannot simply cut themselves off on short notice.

“Too many refineries in the eastern and western part of Europe still completely depend on Russian oil and with gas it’s even worse”, Rutte told reporters after a meeting with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda in Vilnius.

“We have to deleverage that dependency. We need to do it as speedily as possible, but we can’t do this tomorrow,” he said.

‘Structural shortfall’

“A Houthi attack on a Saudi energy terminal, warnings of a structural shortfall in production from OPEC and a potential European Union oil embargo on Russia have seen oil prices jump in Asia,” OANDA senior analyst Jeffrey Halley said in a note.

“Even if the Ukraine war ends tomorrow, the world will face a structural energy deficit thanks to Russian sanctions.”

Over the weekend, attacks by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group caused a temporary drop in output at a Saudi Aramco refinery joint venture in Yanbu, feeding concern in a jittery oil products market, where Russia is a key supplier and global inventories are at multiyear lows.

The latest report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, together known as OPEC+, showed some producers are still falling short of their agreed supply quotas.

Source: News Agencies