The UK will phase out imports of Russian oil in response to Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine by the end of the year, the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has confirmed.
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The phasing out of imports will not be immediate, but instead allows the UK more than enough time to adjust supply chains, supporting industry and consumers. The government will work with companies through a new Taskforce on Oil to support them to make use of this period in finding alternative supplies.
The UK is working closely with the US, the EU and other partners to end our dependence on Russian hydrocarbons in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine, recognising the different circumstances and transition timelines.
The import of Russian oil makes up 44% of Russian exports and 17% of federal government revenue through taxation – this move steps up the international pressure on Russia’s economy.
In a competitive global market for oil and petroleum products, demand can be met by alternative suppliers. We will work closely with international partners to ensure alternative supplies of fuel products.
Russian imports account for 8% of total UK oil demand, but the UK is also a significant producer of both crude oil and petroleum products, in addition to imports from a diverse range of reliable suppliers beyond Russia including the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and USA.
Whilst this transition takes place, the government recognises the need to continue to import Russia oil in the meantime as we work to this aim. This will help ensure continuity in our supply and protect consumers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "In another economic blow to the Putin regime following their illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK will move away from dependence on Russian oil throughout this year, building on our severe package of international economic sanctions.
"Working with industry, we are confident that this can be achieved over the course of the year, providing enough time for companies to adjust and ensuring consumers are protected."
The UK is not dependent on Russian natural gas, making up less than 4% of its supply. Ministers are also exploring options to reduce this further. The Prime Minister confirmed that the government will set out an energy strategy to set out the UK’s long term plans for greater energy security, including both renewable and domestic oil and gas supplies. ■
In a resolution passed on November 24 by 416 votes in favour, 124 against and 33 abstentions, MEPs say that the 17 remedial measures negotiated by the Commission and Hungary are “not sufficient to address the existing systemic risk to the EU’s financial interests”, even if implemented fully.