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6 Feb, 2024 15:01

UK bypassing own ban on Russian oil – study

Britain has bought over $700 million worth of petroleum products derived from sanctioned oil since 2022, a report has found
UK bypassing own ban on Russian oil – study

The UK has been bypassing its own ban on Russian oil by using a “refinery loophole” to import millions of barrels of the sanctioned commodity in the form of fuels processed in third countries, the BBC reported on Monday, citing two separate studies.   

A recent investigation by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) claimed that India and China, which have become the top buyers of Russian oil after the West banned it, are refining sanctioned crude into jet fuel and diesel and then re-selling it to countries across the world, including the UK.  

Re-exporting processed oil is not illegal and does not breach the UK’s ban on Russian oil due to internationally recognized “rules of origin,” which define the country where crude was processed into fuel for commercial purposes as the country of origin.    

However, the “refining loophole” comes in contrast to London’s claims that there have been no imports of Russian oil since 2022.  

“The issue with this loophole is that it increases the demand for Russian crude and enables higher sales in terms of volume and pushing up their price as well,” Isaac Levi, head of CREA’s Europe-Russia policy and energy analysis, commented.   

A separate research by campaign group Global Witness revealed that some 5.2 million barrels of refined petroleum products made of Russian oil were imported by the UK last year. Most of that volume, or about 4.6 million barrels, arrived in the form of jet fuel and was used in one in 20 UK flights.  

Meanwhile, CREA estimated that in the twelve months since Western restrictions on Russian oil took effect in 2022, the UK imported some £569 million ($712.5 million) worth of oil products derived from sanctioned crude.

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