At the summit the embargo on Russian oil was on the first place on the agenda
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – While the EU is still searching for new sanctions in Moscow, the German-chaired G7 announces the embargo on Russian oil.
“We are committed to phasing out our dependence on Russian energy, even by phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil,” reads the final communiqué from yesterday’s summit. The reduction will take place “in a timely and orderly manner, and in ways that give the world time to secure alternative supplies”.
However, it is not clear what each country’s specific commitments will be. And to read between the lines, the announcement seems a way to show unity among the allies (and mask the European divisions on the subject) rather than a decision that will have quick and concrete consequences.
The United States and Britain had already announced an embargo on Russian oil on 8 March. Washington immediately stopped the import of crude oil from Moscow while London opted for a 9-month window, until December 2022, to say goodbye to Russian oil and derived products that make up 8% of the country’s total import. Canada had done so before: the embargo on Russian oil dates back to February 28. On the other hand, the North American country doesn’t even care about a barrel from Moscow since 2019.
The situation for European countries and Japan is different. Tokyo is not very dependent on Moscow but still wants to take its time before giving up Russian energy products. The archipelago depends on 3.6% of crude oil and 8.8% of LNG from Russia. The Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has not given a certain time for the reduction of imports. But he made it very clear that it will not be a quick matter. Nor definitive. So much so that Tokyo will not give up its shares in oil and gas projects in the Russian Far East because they are important “in the long term”.
What France, Germany, and Italy will do will depend on the negotiations within the EU. They are dragging on. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are asking for exemptions (and compensation – money – to recalibrate their refineries on grades of crude oil other than the Russian Urals). Greece, Malta and Cyprus, on the other hand, want more time before the leghold trap on Russian oil tanker services goes off. A new Coreper meeting at the level of EU ambassadors is scheduled today to resolve these issues.