Russia may be earning more oil and gas revenue now than it did before its invasion of Ukraine, a US energy expert testified on Thursday, as Washington urged India to ease off buying more oil from Moscow.
US energy security envoy Amos Hochstein told a Senate subcommittee hearing on Thursday that global price increases were offsetting the impact of Western efforts to restrict Russian energy sales.
At the same time, Russia has been able to sell more cargoes to other buyers, including major energy consumers China and India, by offering it at a discount to oil from other origins.
Hochstein told the Senate subcommittee on Europe and regional security cooperation that he has asked Indian officials not to purchase too much Russian oil.
He said the US cannot ban Indian purchases of crude oil because it has not imposed secondary sanctions.
Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said $870 million in energy revenues from Europe are “continuing to fund the Russian war machine, enabling the Kremlin’s ongoing assault against Ukraine”.
Hochstein said the most important act was to reduce Russia’s revenue while mitigating the impacts of soaring fuel prices at home and on allies.
Sanctions on Moscow have triggered a surge in global prices of oil and gas. Prices for Brent crude on Thursday were near a three-month high above $123 a barrel.
The International Energy Agency said in May that Russia’s oil revenue was up 50% since the beginning of the year to $20 billion a month, with the EU taking the biggest share of its exports.
The EU’s ban on Russian oil, expected to take full effect at the end of the year, could cut that revenue.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell