Civil society steps in . . .
On Monday, Greenpeace staged protests against oil tankers carrying Russian oil destined for Asian markets by chaining themselves to one of the tankers stationed in the Baltic Sea. The action followed a Greenpeace-organized interception of Indonesia’s Pertamina tanker last month, which may have been carrying Russian oil. These protests add additional pressure on Indonesia, which has been debating the possibility of purchasing cheap Russian oil to offset rising inflation, despite the crisis in Ukraine. Civil society’s calls to stop the flow of Russian oil are complementary to Western sanctions against imports of Russian energy. The collective pressure is leading to the withdrawal of multiple Western oil and gas firms from Russia and complicating the ability of Asian countries to import purchased oil from Russia.
Asian economies continue to buy Russian oil . . .
China, Japan, India, and South Korea continue to purchase Russian oil despite international pressure to stop. Due to Western sanctions, Russia is trying to sell its oil at a discount, which is attractive to multiple Asian countries facing inflationary pressures and energy insecurity. Benefiting from the lower oil prices, India has doubled its imports of Russian oil. But Western sanctions are making it increasingly difficult for Asian companies to purchase it, as seen in the case of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s inability to transport some of its recently purchased Russian oil home.
To buy, or not to buy . . .
Asian economies face a dilemma when importing Russian oil in the balance between their own energy security concerns and international pressures over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Asian consumers must consider that Russia may weaponize its oil exports. The most recent example is Russia’s decision to cut natural gas exports to Poland and Bulgaria as they did not switch their payment to roubles, demonstrating that Russia may cut countries from its energy supplies. Ultimately, the crisis in Ukraine has put a strain on energy security throughout the Asia Pacific, and it remains to be seen how energy supply chains will evolve and whether or not Canada will be part of the solution.
- The Diplomat: Indonesia state energy firm Pertamina mulls purchases of Russian oil
- Financial Times: Indonesia under pressure as it weighs buying Russia’s ‘blood oil’
- Foreign Affairs: Time for even tougher sanctions on Russia