The UK Government has announced plans to phase out oil imports from Russia by the end of 2022 in response to Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The phase out will not be immediate as it gives the market, businesses and supply chains “more than enough time” to to replace Russian imports, which make up 8% of UK demand.
The government will work with companies through a new Taskforce on Oil to support them during this period in finding alternative supplies.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is “confident” the phase out can be achieved over the course of the year.
He added: “In another economic blow to the Putin regime following the illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK will move away from dependence on Russian oil throughout this year, building on our severe package of international economic sanctions.”
The imports of Russian oil makes up 44% of the country’s exports and 17% of federal government revenue through taxation, with the UK’s latest move stepping up international pressure on Russia’s economy.
The phase out of oil imports follows existing trade, financial and personal sanctions already imposed by the UK against Russia.
In addition, Russian oil is already being ostracised by the market, with nearly 70% of it currently struggling to find a buyer and earlier this month, Russian ships were banned from UK ports and authorities were granted new powers to detain Russian vessels.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Unprovoked military aggression will not pay and we will continue to support the brave people of Ukraine as they stand up to tyranny, building on our existing sanctions that are already crippling Putin’s war machine.
“We have more than enough time for the market and our supply chains to adjust to these essential changes. Businesses should use this year to ensure a smooth transition so that consumers will not be affected.”
Russian oil imports as a percentage of total demand, according to the Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2020 are: 0% petrol, 5% jet fuel, 0% heating oil, 18% diesel, 1% gas oil (such as red diesel), 0% fuel oil and 8% all oil imports.
The UK also imports from a diverse range of suppliers beyond Russia, including the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and the US.