Arab Steel Summit

Will Moscow use the trump card?

The escalation is continuing between Russia and Ukraine war, the world is awaiting with concern its consequences, which have crossed the borders far beyond what some have expected, and the world is feeling its economic effects in many activities, especially in the energy sector.

It is no secret – in my opinion – that when talking about global energy security, it is not possible in any way to surpass Russia, as it is the second producer of crude oil in the world with about 11 million barrels per day, with exports amounting to about 7 million barrels per day. In the gas sector, Russia cannot be ignored as well, as it is the largest gas exporter in the world, with approximately 238.1 billion cubic meters, far ahead of its closest competitor, the United States, which comes in second place with about 137.5 billion cubic meters. Concerning Russian oil, I see that some European countries are actively seeking to ban its exports, although there is an obvious discrepancy between countries dealing with this trend.

This discrepancy is not surprising, as the dependence of European countries on Russian oil and gas varies as well. It is not surprising that the countries least dependent on Russian energy are the most ferocious in demanding the imposition of the most severe economic sanctions on Russia, foremost of which is the ban on its oil exports. On the other hand, the country most in need of Russian energy products are striving to evade such decisions and their economic consequences that they cannot bear.

The Russian oil map may illustrate the previous discrepancy. About 60 per cent of Russian oil exports go to European countries, and Germany imports about 800,000 barrels of Russian oil per day, equivalent to 30 per cent of its consumption. The Netherlands imports about 750,000 barrels per day of Russian oil, which constitutes about 22 per cent of its needs, and Poland consumes about 500,000 barrels per day of Russian oil, which comprises 58 per cent of its requirements.

It is worth noting that a country like Finland accounts for more than 80 per cent of its consumption of Russian oil, and this is a large percentage that shows the almost absolute dependence of Finland on Russian energy, although the quantity is not large, as it is close to 250 thousand barrels per day. One of the countries least dependent on Russian energy sources is Britain, which imports about 170,000 barrels per day of Russian oil, representing only 11 per cent of its needs.

Some expect that, due to the sharp escalation of the European side against Russia and the trend towards banning its oil exports, Russia have a trump card that may storm Europe’s economy in the short term, at the very least.

Nord Stream 1 and the Yamal pipeline comprise 40 per cent of Europe’s gas consumption, with Russian gas accounting for about 12 per cent of the consumption of Italy and the Netherlands, while Russian gas comprises only about 5 per cent of its need.

The question here is: Is it possible for Russia to use this card? Moreover, who is the most harmed between them if this is done? We will answer these two questions in the following article, God willing.