The European Union plans to phase out Russian oil entirely by the end of 2022

The European Union (EU) is moving forward to propose a ban on Russian oil by the end of 2022.

Until this ban is put into effect, the EU will continue to implement restrictions on imports of Russian oil.

The EU also plans to push for more thoroughgoing sanctions on Russia and its allies by advocating for more Russian and Belarusian banks to be cut off from the SWIFT telecommunications network. Bloomberg reported that this list of banks includes Sberbank PJSC, Russia’s largest financial institution, which has been providing a vital economic lifeline in recent months. Sberbank was previously sanctioned by the U.S. and U.K.

A decision on the new sanctions may come as soon as next week at a meeting of EU ambassadors. If the sanctions are to go into effect, this would be the sixth package of sanctions placed on Russia since it invaded Ukraine this past February.

In order for the EU to implement sanctions, all of its 27 member states must agree to enforce them in their nations. Reportedly, countries like Hungary and Germany are historically hesitant to issue restrictions on imports of Russian oil due to their nations’ dependence on it. Currently, the EU is the single largest consumer of crude oil and fuel from Russia. In 2019, almost two-thirds of crude oil imported by EU nations came from Russia.

Reportedly, an embargo on Russian oil would dramatically increase tensions between the EU and Russia as the EU tries to pressure Putin into ending his invasion of Ukraine. These sanctions are aimed at hitting Russia’s revenue from oil exports as much as possible without causing turmoil in the global marketplace. One concern is that increasing the costs of Russian oil by sanctioning it could lead to a boost in Russia’s income instead of punishing it.

An ongoing issue that the EU and Russia are experiencing is how to pay for gas that is being imported into EU member nations. With the majority of Russia’s banks being removed from the SWIFT telecommunications network, conducting business with Russian companies is harder than it once was. Making the process increasingly difficult is that Russian entities are demanding EU member states pay for their oil imports in Russian rubles, but doing so would breach sanctions currently in place.

If EU member states don’t comply and start paying for their oil imports in rubles, Russia will cease doing business with them. Poland and Bulgaria have already been cut off by Russia for failing to meet the country’s standards.

The Biden administration resumes oil and gas leases on federal land but in a reduced capacity and with steeper fees

This past Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would resume granting lease sales for the drilling of oil and natural gas on federal lands.

However, as the Washington Examiner reported, the Biden administration intends to drastically decrease the amount of federal land available for drilling and plans to increase the royalty it charges companies to produce oil on federal lands.

In a recently released press release, the Department of the Interior said that it will make 144,000 acres of federal lands available for drilling. This is an 80% reduction in acreage that was originally designated for natural gas production. The department will also begin charging companies drilling royalties of 18.75% instead of 12.5%.

The release said, “The [Bureau of Land Management] will issue final environmental assessments and sale notices of upcoming oil and gas leases that reflect this strategic approach.”

“The lease sales will incorporate many of the recommendations in the Department’s report,” the release continued. “Including ensuring Tribal consultation and broad community input, reliance of the best available science including analysis of GHG emissions, and a first-ever increase in the royalty rate for new competitive leases to 18.75 percent, to ensure fair return for the American taxpayers and on par with rates charged by states and private landowners.”

It continued, “The BLM assessed potentially available and eligible acreage in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. It began analyzing 646 parcels on roughly 733,000 acres that had been previously nominated for leasing by energy companies. As a result of robust environmental review, engagement with Tribes and communities, and prioritizing the American people’s broad interests in public lands, the final sale notices will offer approximately 173 parcels on roughly 144,000 acres, an 80 percent reduction from the acreage originally nominated.”

This move by the Department of the Interior comes as the Biden administration begins to acknowledge the importance of increasing domestic energy production amid soaring energy prices.

Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, called the department’s new plan an overdue “reset’ of the leasing program.

She said, “For too long, the federal oil and gas leasing programs have prioritized the wants of extractive industries above local communities, the natural environment, the impact on our air and water, the needs of Tribal Nations, and, moreover, other uses of our shared public lands.”'

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Western nations issued thoroughgoing sanctions on the Russian economy. The U.S. was quick to stop importing Russian oil, and since the Biden administration ended American energy independence, American energy prices drastically rose as there was suddenly less oil being imported.