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OPEC informs the EU of its concern over the Russian oil embargo

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OPEC sources said that OPEC officials believed that a possible European Union embargo on Russia’s oil due to its invasion of Ukraine would hurt customers, and that the organization had informed Brussels of its concerns.
Major OPEC countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates tried to remain neutral between the West and Russia, while OPEC+, which includes Russia itself, completely distanced itself from the Ukrainian dossier, in policy-setting meetings. .

The European Union, which relies heavily on Russian crude, has already imposed tough sanctions on Moscow, including freezing the assets of its central bank. The bloc is discussing whether and how to impose sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.

European Union Energy Commissioner Kadri Simpson said on Twitter that OPEC officials, including OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, met with her on March 16 to discuss the “exceptional times” they face. the energy markets.

One of the OPEC sources said the organization had clearly expressed its concern to the European Union, adding, after requesting that his name not be revealed, that “they are fully aware of the matter.”

“OPEC presented its analysis of the situation in the oil market and informed us of its plans for oil production,” an EU official said when asked for comment on the March 16 meeting.

“As we have always said, we do not rule out any option in future sanctions,” he added.

OPEC headquarters in Vienna did not yet respond to a request for comment.

Oil prices rose to their highest levels since 2008, fueled by supply concerns due to events in Ukraine, which pushed up fuel prices for consumers already suffering from high inflation as economies shrink. recovering from the consequences of the Corona pandemic.

Russia is an ally of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and co-chairs the OPEC+ group of oil-producing countries, which have cooperated since 2017 to coordinate oil supplies in support of the market.

The United States and Britain have already applied sanctions on Russian oil, and this option is crucial for the European Union, which relies on Russia for about 40% of its gas needs.

On Monday, the foreign ministers of the European Union disagreed on the imposition of sanctions on the Russian energy sector, as well as on the manner of implementation.

The OPEC source said the absence of a Russian oil embargo would indicate that EU member states are “convinced by what the reality of the energy sector dictates, not what they want.”

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