The European Union has approved a partial embargo on Russian oil imports to the sector by the end of 2022.
The news comes shortly after an announcement by Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar that she will permit a fourth exploration for natural gas in Israeli territorial waters. The announcement followed negotiations on a deal to sell natural gas to Europe, via Egypt.
The price of crude leaped in response to the news, with Brent crude reaching $123 per barrel.
The embargo comprises a sixth package of sanctions that were approved at a summit in Brussels. The decision required a unanimous vote by all 27 member states.
The United Kingdom likewise pledged to phase out its oil imports from Russia – about 8 percent of its total annual supply — by the end of this year.
The European Union receives about 27 percent of its oil imports from Moscow and 40 percent of its gas, according to the BBC.
The EU pays 400 billion euros per year for the energy.
The move, intended to further punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, affects oil that arrives by sea, about two-thirds of the EU imports.
Some two-thirds of Russian oil exports are delivered by sea.
It does not, however, officially ban pipeline oil due to opposition from Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orban has strong ties to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Nevertheless, a total of some 90 percent of Russian oil will be blocked since Germany and Poland also pledged to end their pipeline imports.
In addition to the embargo, the EU also approved several other sanctions. Three more Russian state-owned broadcasters were banned and Russia’s largest bank – Sberbank – is to be disconnected from the international SWIFT payment system which facilitates rapid global money transfers.
In addition, individuals “responsible for war crimes in Ukraine” are to be sanctioned as well.