As the specter of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms, oil markets have been on edge for fear of how this prospect would cut into Russia’s vast energy sector. At least one prominent analysts says oil prices are set to surge.
On Wednesday, David Roche, president and global strategist of Independent Strategy, predicted that prices for oil will be severely impacted if Russia does invade Ukraine. Roche suggested that it would be unsurprising if oil reached $120 a barrel.
“I think if there was an invasion of Ukraine and there were to be sanctions which impeded either Russia’s access to foreign exchange mechanisms, messaging systems and so on, or which prevented them from exporting their commodities, either oil or gas or coal, I think at that point in time you would most certainly see oil prices at $120 [a barrel],” Roche told CNBC in an interview.
Roche expressed his belief that global markets were underestimating how severe the ramifications may be if the Russia-Ukraine standoff does in fact turn hot. If Russia were to incur the “devastating sanctions” promised by the U.S. and its allies, it would rock not just European equity markets but the global economy also would “radically alter,” said Roche.
Negotiations to defuse the crisis have failed to bear any fruit. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the West has completely ignored his demands for security guarantees and to formally deny Ukraine membership in NATO. Instead, Putin accused the U.S. of looking to “contain” Russia by deepening its cooperation with Ukraine.
For its part, Washington has kept up the drumbeat of warnings that a Russian invasion may take place “any day now” in the words of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. On Monday, President Joe Biden promised “severe sanctions” on Russia if it moves on Ukraine at a press conference with Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholtz.
Berlin has been hammered by its NATO partners for its reluctance to aid Ukraine, but Scholtz suggested that Germany would “do the same steps” as its partners to counter Russia.
Tension in Eastern Europe is not the only factor lifting predictions of higher oil prices, however. Despite blunting the impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, oil demand has still remained ahead of available supply while other countries suffer from underinvestment in their existing production facilities.
Russia itself has previously warned that oil could reach $120 a barrel. In November, an executive for the Russian gas giant Rosneft warned that members of the OPEC+ forum of oil producers may not be able to meet global demand levels because of underinvestments and sanctions on his country.
“Today OPEC+ countries can’t increase production to the extent necessary to meet demand,” said Otabek Karimov, the Russian company’s vice president for commerce and logistics, as reported by Bloomberg.
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