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BRENT CRUDE SOARS ABOVE $114/PB AS EU MULLS RUSSIAN OIL BANS

As European Union (EU) nations considered joining the United States in banning imports of Russian oil amid war in Ukraine, crude oil prices jumped by more than $6 on Monday, with Brent crude soaring above $114 a barrel.

Brent crude futures were up $6.52, or six per cent, at $114.45 a barrel by, adding to a 1.2 per cent rise at the weekend. United States’ West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose $5.90, or 5.6vper cent, to $110.60.

Separately, prices were driven higher after an attack from the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels over the weekend targeted energy facilities in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and de facto leader of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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In Europe, several EU countries, including Ireland and Lithuania, believe that the European Union should impose more severe sanctions on Russia, including on its energy sector as ministers begin a week of consultations to decide whether and how to step up sanctions against Russian over its invasion of Ukraine.

France sees a potential ban on imports of Russian energy into the EU as an option, its Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said over the weekend, adding that sanctions are hurting Russia and Vladimir Putin.

However, the European Union and its biggest economy Germany have been reluctant so far to ban imports of Russian energy or impose sanctions on Russian oil and gas exports, considering that Europe depends on Russia for more than one-fourth of its oil supply and one-third of its natural gas supply.

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