The European Union’s proposal to ban imports of Russian oil could knock another 10% off the country’s production by year-end, doubling the supply loss that has already resulted from the invasion of Ukraine.
“We would assume that the actual downside risk to Russian crude oil and condensate production would be around 1 million barrels a day from April levels,” said Viktor Katona, head of sour crude analysis at Kpler.
That would come on top of the output reduction of about 1 million barrels a day Russian producers have made since February as economic sanctions, many of which didn’t directly target oil, nevertheless disrupted shipping, refining and the country’s domestic fuel demand.
The EU hasn’t yet agreed on “a complete import ban” on Russian oil, which would be phased in over the next six months for crude and apply to refined fuels by the end of the year. The proposals also include a prohibition on all services linked to transportation of Russian petroleum, including financing, brokering, technical assistance and financing assistance.
If the measures are implemented, the region could stop purchasing about 1.5 million barrels a day of Russian oil, according to Kpler estimates. That’s assuming exemptions from the ban for some countries in Eastern Europe that would have difficulty finding alternative supplies.
About 500,000 barrels a day of those supplies could be re-directed to India, putting the output loss at 1 million barrels a day, according to Katona. In April Russian producers pumped on average 10.05 million barrels a day, down over 9% from pre-war levels.
The EU ban could bring the country’s production as low as 9 million barrels a day, which would be the lowest in almost 20 years. Last month, Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov estimated that drop in nation’s output could reach 17%, depending on which countries will reject Russian barrels.
Time to Adapt
The long period over which the ban would be introduced gives Russia the opportunity to adapt.
“There is plenty of time for Russian sellers to find new buyers,” said Jay Maroo, lead crude analyst at Vortexa Ltd.
That could happen, but at a price. Customers in Asia that continue to buy Russian crude today are asking for deeper discounts to compensate. With global benchmark Brent currently trading at almost $109 a barrel, India is seeking Russian crude oil at less than $70 a barrel, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The probability is low that the EU would seek to impose secondary sanctions on Russian oil, essentially prohibiting any country from buying it, according to Maroo. Such a move would almost immediately send oil prices to $200 a barrel and “no one would want to risk it,” according to Katona.
The ban could still prove costly for Europe. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the bloc would find it to be a “double-edged sword” and “the price of these sanctions for EU citizens will increase every day.”