Yesterday, Mr Johnson met with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Masrour Barzani to discuss a range of partnerships in trade and investment. The two countries spoke about exporting oil and gas from Kurdistan to Europe, in a bid to cut the continent’s dependence on Russian oil and gas. The bloc as a whole gets 40 percent of its gas from Russia, because of which it has so far been unable to impose serious sanctions on Moscow’s energy.
A statement from Downing Street read: “The Prime Minister updated Prime Minister Barzani on his recent visit to Kyiv and reiterated the need for the international community to continue to push back against Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
“Prime Minister Barzani spoke about his aspiration to export energy to Europe, and the Prime Minister lauded his efforts to help reduce Western reliance on Russian oil and gas.”
According to an assessment by the American firm Deloitte, Iraqi Kurdistan has oil fields that yielded a net output of more than 37 million barrels of oil in the fourth quarter of 2021.
According to the report, these barrels were sold at an average price of $68.43 (£52.57) a barrel.
While this figure is significantly lower than Russia’s output at 7.8 million barrels exported every day, a deal to send Kurdish oil to Europe would help the bloc reduce its reliance on Russian gas.
One advantage Mr Barzani would have is that his oil is much cheaper than that exported by Putin, with Russia selling its oil at an average price of $89.1 per barrel, or £68.44.
According to a new report from JP Morgan, oil prices could spike to a record high of $180 per barrel (£142), if Europe were to ban imports of Russian oil, or if Putin cuts supply in retaliation.
According to Natasha Kaneva, Head of Global Commodities Strategy at J.P. Morgan, if the EU were to escalate its sanctions against Russia and end imports of oil, then Brent Crude prices could soar by 65 percent.
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Energy exports form the largest chunk of Moscow’s economy, with experts arguing that by continuing to pay for gas from Russia, the EU is indirectly bankrolling Putin’s war efforts in Ukraine.
According to Josep Borrel, the EU’s own foreign policy chief, the bloc has given €35 billion (£29.1 billion) to Russia for energy supplies since the start of his war