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Treasury Department assures Wall Street it can still trade Russian oil


On Friday, November 20, 2020, oil pumping jacks (also known as “nodding dokeys”) were seen in a Rosneft Petroleum Co. oilfield, near Sokolovka village. This was Russia’s Udmurt Republic.

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Friday’s clarification by the U.S. Treasury Department stated that Wall Street traders and banks are allowed to continue buying and selling Russian oil and natural gas, despite sanctions against Russia and its biggest lenders.

This new advice comes at a time when traders and banks are worried about violating U.S. Trade laws, as world leaders protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion in Ukraine.

But Treasury underscored in a post that the U.S. sanctions against Russia’s biggest banks — including VTB Bank — do not apply to energy transactionsUntil June 24, Investors were also assured by the department that Russian-origin energy transport companies would be able to continue operations until June 24. CommoditiesAlso, the U.S. is exempted from any penalties for sales to it.

“In general, energy-related activities — including the purchase, sale, or transport of Russian-origin oil, gas, or other energy-related products by U.S. or non-U.S. persons — remain permissible,” Treasury said on its website. Comprehensive sanctions are not applicable to the Russian Federation energy sector.

Wide speculation surrounds Treasury’s update, which is responsible for the enforcement of most U.S. tariffs and sanctions. U.S. could soon opt to bar Russian energy importsIn addition, there are a number of penalties already announced against the Kremlin.

Oil jumped another 7% on FridayThe volatile market session that followed Russia’s incursion into Ukraine continued in New York, Chicago. In between the disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and the uncertainty over how long it will last, crude futures have increased more than 20%.

Brent futuresThe barrel settled at $118.11 per barrel after a $7.65 (or 6.9%) increase U.S. West Texas Intermediate crudeThe settlement at $115.68 was reached by an $8.01 increase, or 7.4%. It was Brent’s best close since February 2013 as well as WTI’s for September 2008.

U.S. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen talks during a news conference held with Paschal Donohoe, Irish Finance Minister, at the Government building in Dublin, Ireland on November 1, 2021.

Clodagh Kilcoyne – Reuters| Reuters

According to White House comments, the latest rise in oil prices occurred earlier Friday. This fueled speculations that an immediate ban on U.S. exports of Russian energy might be on the horizon.

According to the administration, the U.S. could withstand an entire ban on Russian crude oil imports as long as it cooperates with international partners. Russia is the world’s biggest energy exporter and the U.S. energy sales are one way Moscow has access to dollars even as its currency plummets.

Cecilia Rouse chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, stated that “we’re in very good shape” and added, “We don’t import much Russian oil.”

She said that she was looking into options now to reduce the U.S. dependence on Russian energy. It is important that there be a constant supply of energy worldwide.

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The threat of forthcoming sanctions against Russia’s energy sector has some energy traders on edge since so much of the energy market is based on futures contracts — agreements to purchase oil or gas at a specified price months in the future.

Many traders have asked the Treasury Department in recent days if they will have to wind down energy-related transactions by June 24.

Treasury announced that the Office of Foreign Assets Control would issue another license to advise traders about how to wind down Russian energy contracts if the Biden Administration fails to extend the Russian export special carve-out by June 24.