US Energy Secretary does not rule out secondary sanctions against buyers of Russian oil

WASHINGTON, May 19 (Reuters) – The Biden administration has not ruled out the possibility of imposing sanctions on countries that buy Russian oil amid the war in Ukraine, but has paid attention to the impacts on oil markets, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Thursday.

The United States, along with Britain and Canada, banned Russian oil purchases after Moscow invaded Ukraine. But Washington has not imposed so-called secondary sanctions on countries buying Russian oil, the kind of measures it has imposed on countries buying oil from Iran.

“The administration is going to make decisions along those lines…I’m not telegraphing, it’s their decision,” Granholm told reporters in Washington. The Treasury Department and State Department usually craft sanctions, but the Secretary of Energy can have some say in their effect on world oil prices.

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Countries like India and China continue to buy oil from Russia, which ultimately helps fund the war effort.

India, the world’s third largest oil importer, increased imports of Russian oil in April to around 277,000 barrels per day from 66,000 bpd in March as refiners bought cheaper oil shunned by many Western countries and companies . read more China also buys heavily discounted Russian barrels. Read more

When asked if the administration should impose secondary penalties, Granholm replied, “I know that’s certainly not out of place.”

But such moves could push up global oil prices at a time when the administration is sensitive to high gasoline prices that recently hit a new high despite Washington’s decision to release record amounts of oil from the reserve. oil strategy. High prices are worrying fellow Biden Democrats ahead of November’s congressional election.

Granholm said the first round of Western sanctions against Russia removed about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from world markets and EU plans to phase out Russian oil and refined products could eliminate an additional 1.5 million bpd by the end of the year.

“Obviously this will create additional price pressures…we don’t want our citizens to suffer,” Granholm said.

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Reporting by Timothy Gardner; edited by Richard Pullin

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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