Russia's Novak says oil may hit $400 a barrel if Russian crude shunned: Media

The Kremlin warned that EU sanctions on Russian oil could prompt it to close a gas pipeline to Europe. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday (March 21) that oil prices could reach US$300 (S$400) a barrel if Russian crude was shunned by the West, although he said that was unlikely, TASS news agency reported.

Novak also said it was impossible for Europe to refuse Russian oil and gas for now. He added that the United States and Britain's refusal to purchase Russian oil would have little impact on Moscow because they only buy small amounts, according to the Interfax news agency.

Novak said Russia was in the process of resolving logistical issues linked to its oil shipments abroad and that the country's oil and gas production was continuing as usual despite sanctions.

The EU is considering imposing further sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb 24.

The latest measures being considered include an embargo on Russian oil.

Earlier on Monday, the Kremlin said Europe would be hit hard in the event of an embargo on Russian oil, striking the continent's energy balance, but would not affect the US.

It warned that EU sanctions on Russian oil could prompt it to close a gas pipeline to Europe.

"Such an embargo would very seriously impact the global oil market, very badly impact energy balance on the European continent," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a daily conference call.

"Americans would remain as they are and would feel much better than Europeans (in the event of oil embargo). This would be hard for Europeans - such a decision would hit everyone,"Peskov said.

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