WTI crude futures jumped to their highest levels since 2008 early on Monday, amid the risk of a Western ban on Russian oil imports, exacerbated by delays in the Iran nuclear talks and the potential return of Iranian crude exports. The US oil benchmark soared nearly 13% to hit $130 per barrel before paring some gains to trade around $126, on track for its biggest daily percentage gain since May 2020.
Brent crude futures jumped to their highest levels since 2008 early on Monday – 15% – to hit $139 per barrel before paring some gains to trade around $129, on track for its biggest daily percentage gain since May 2020.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the US is working with its allies in Europe to look into the possibility of banning Russian oil imports in an effort to further punish the country for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“When it comes to oil, Russian oil, I was on the phone yesterday with the President and other members of the Cabinet on exactly the subject, and we are now talking to our European partners and allies to look in a coordinated way at the prospect of banning the import of Russian oil while making sure that there is still an appropriate supply of oil in world markets,” Blinken told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
The comments come several days after the Biden administration appeared to downplay its openness to sanctioning Russian oil, underscoring the significance of the possibility of taking any unprecedented action against the world’s No. 2 oil producer.
The change of sentiment comes two days after hen hundreds of NGOs called for an import ban on Russian oil, gas. According to AFP, “Putin’s income streams must be dried out as soon as possible,” said a letter, signed by the World Council of Churches, 350.org, Greenpeace and CAN International, an umbrella organization of more than 1,500 climate NGOs. Approximately 40 percent of Russia’s federal budget comes from oil and gas revenues, which also make up about three-fifths of Russian exports. Some 40 percent of Europe’s natural gas needs are supplied by Russia, with Germany, Hungary and Slovakia especially dependent.
At the same time, countries should not simply replace Russian-produced fossil fuels with coal, oil and gas from other countries in order to avoid the worst ravages of global warming, the NGOs warned.
WTI crude oil ended the week at 115 dollars/barrel, the highest level in almost 14 years. At 118,04, the Brent contracts, the relevant benchmark in Europe, reached the highest level in 10 years. Natural gas is now almost 20 times more expensive in Europe than in February 2020, and more than 10 times more expensive than the average price in the last 10 years.