LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) – OPEC officials believe a possible European Union ban on oil from its partner Russia over the invasion of Ukraine would hurt consumers and the group has conveyed its concerns to Brussels, OPEC sources said.
Major OPEC members, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have tried to navigate a neutral course between the West and Moscow, while OPEC+, a grouping that includes Russia, has steered clear of the Ukraine issue in its policy meetings.
The EU, which relies heavily on Russian crude, has already imposed tough sanctions on Russia, including freezing its central bank’s assets. The bloc has been discussing whether and how to put sanctions on Russia’s energy industry.
OPEC officials including Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo met EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson on March 16 to discuss the “extraordinary times” for the energy market, Simson said on Twitter.
One of the OPEC sources said the group’s concerns were made clear to the EU. “They are very well informed,” said the source, declining to be identified.
Asked for comment on the March 16 meeting, an EU official said: “OPEC presented their analysis of the oil market situation and informed us of their plans in terms of oil production.”
“As we have consistently said, nothing is off the table in terms of future sanctions,” the EU official said.