Desperate Putin will flog oil to any buyer at any price as sanctions bite in Russia

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Desperate Putin will flog oil to any buyer at any price as sanctions bite in Russia

The combination of boycotts from major companies and severe sanctions from Western countries have devastated Russia’s economy, with the Russian rub

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The combination of boycotts from major companies and severe sanctions from Western countries have devastated Russia’s economy, with the Russian ruble only surviving thanks to heavy input from the Central Bank of Russia. A currency expert told Express.co.uk that Russia was faced with a 99 percent chance of defaulting by the end of the year, leaving Putin desperate for a way out.

Today Russian pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia reported that energy minister Nikolai Shulginov said the country is ready to sell oil and oil products to “friendly countries” in “any price range”.

Discussing attempts to forecast the situation for the Russian oil, Mr Shulginov mildly referred to the “unconstructive behaviour of Western politicians” making forecasting “difficult”.

The UK and the US have both announced plans to implement countrywide bans on the imports of Russian oil.

The EU, which relies on Russia for 40percent of its natural gas and about 30percent of its oil, is reportedly considering a ban as well. They have already banned Russian coal.

In the interview, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is never mentioned except in a vague reference to “geopolitical events”.

Mr Shulginov told the newspaper that crude oil prices could reach $80 to $150 a barrel, although Russia was more focused on ensuring the oil industry could continue to function.

Brent crude oil, considered to be a benchmark for prices, hit nearly $140 a barrel last month and has since fallen to $100 a barrel as of today.

Asked which new markets Russia could look to, Mr Shulginov only responded: “Markets not associated with the US and Europe.”

However, India and China have already been buying cargoes of cheap Russian oil.

Neither of the two have overtly condemned Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

India is the world’s third-largest consumer of oil.

Last year it purchased around 12million barrels from Russia – making up just 2percent of its total imports.

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Meanwhile, Reuters report that while China’s large state oil refineries are not signing new Russian oil contracts, smaller independent refiners are still buying it discreetly.

Even despite the sanctions and boycotts from Western countries, Russia’s strong energy sector will still reap huge benefits for the Russian economy, according to a Bloomberg Economics forecast in April.

It is predicted to bring in nearly $321million from energy exports in 2022 – 36 percent higher than in 2021.

Despite this, the World Bank reported on Sunday that Russia’s economy is expected to contract 11.2 percent in 2022.

The country’s March oil and gas revenue was also 38 percent lower than Russia’s finance ministry had forecast on March 3, according to data from the ministry, published Tuesday.



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