UK poised to follow US and unleash oil reserves in major blow for blackmailing Putin

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Oil prices soared after the launching of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine more than a month ago. A record of £97 per barrel was set earlier this month, this being 21 percent above the earlier peak in 2012.

The rise has forced world leaders to consider alternative sources of oil, including home reserves.

President Joe Biden announced this week the US will release around one million barrels of oil a day from its reserves for six months.

The scheme will begin in May and will “provide a historic amount of supply to serve as bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up”, according to the White House.

In a statement, it added: “The United States is the largest oil producer in the world and is a net energy exporter.

“Despite that, the actions of a dictator half a world away can still impact American families’ pocketbooks.”

This comes amid rising petrol costs in the US.

These are, of course, also being suffered in the UK, despite the Chancellor’s attempts to bring prices down in his recent Spring Statement.

Because of this, the “historic” move is also being considered here in Britain.

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The Department for Business declined to comment on whether such proposals are indeed being considered by the Government.

This comes after Russia insisted it would halt energy supplies to “unfriendly” countries – that is, those, primarily in the West, which have imposed sanctions on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine – unless they switch to payments in rubles.

Putin told world leaders on Thursday: “To buy Russian gas, they need to open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from those accounts that gas will be paid for starting April 1.

“If such payments aren’t made, we will consider this a failure by the client to comply with its obligations.”

While leaders are scrambling to cut their ties with Russian energy, it has also been recognised a good deal of damage could be inflicted on Western economies if this happens too quickly without viable alternatives first being established.

The International Energy Agency has been approached for comment.



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