MOSCOW (MRC) -- The U.S. took aim at Russia's oil refining sector with new export curbs and targeted Belarus with sweeping new export restrictions, as the Biden administration amps up its crackdown on Moscow and Minsk over the invasion of Ukraine, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.
The new round of sanctions announced by the White House ban the export of specific refining technologies, making it harder for Russia to modernize its oil refineries. The White House also applied a sweeping set of export restrictions levied against Russia last month to Belarus, arguing the controls would help prevent the diversion of items, including technology and software, in the defense, aerospace and maritime sectors to Russia through Belarus.
"The U.S. will take actions to hold Belarus accountable for enabling Putin's invasion of Ukraine, weaken the Russian defense sector and its military power for years to come, target Russia’s most important sources of wealth and ban Russian airlines from U.S. airspace," the White House said. The European Union (EU) also approved new sanctions against Belarus for its supporting role in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, effectively banning about 70% of all imports from that country, the EU said on Wednesday.
The U.S. has steadily increased sanctions on Moscow after Putin began the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Belarus has allowed Russian troops to use its territory as a staging ground for the assault. The Commerce Department, which oversees U.S. export controls, also said it was adding to a trade blacklist entities with ties to the Russian and Belarusian military and defense sectors, making it much harder for them to receive U.S. technology imports.
In a detailed filing about the new restrictions on Belarus, the U.S. said it would allow mobile phone and software sales to consumers in Belarus, but not to President Alexander Lukashenko, his intelligence staff, the Belarusian military, as well as members of state media and other government officials. The U.S. State Department will also impose sanctions targeting 22 Russian defense-related entities, including firms that make combat aircraft and missiles for the country's military, to "further restrict Putin's war machine," the White House said.
Russia exports between 2 MMbpd and 3 MMbpd of refined products, making it one of the world's largest exporters of fuels. The country has about 5.5 MM bbl of crude refining capacity, according to the U.S. Energy Department, citing Oil & Gas Journal figures.
Russia's invasion has yet to achieve its aim of overthrowing Ukraine's government but has sent more than 870,000 people fleeing to neighboring countries and jolted the global economy as governments and companies line up to isolate Moscow.
As per MRC, ExxonMobil said it will exit a major oil and gas project and cease investing in Russia, making it the latest western oil company to cut ties with the country following its invasion of Ukraine. The Texas-based energy supermajor said it was “discontinuing operations” at the Sakhalin-1 project in Russia’s far east, one of the largest foreign-operated oil and gasfields in the country. Exxon follows BP, Shell and Norway’s Equinor, which have said they will dump stakes in projects and sell out of Russian state-backed energy groups after Moscow was hit with a barrage of western sanctions.
Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,487,450 tonnes in 2021, up by 13% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 1,494.280 tonnes, up by 21% year on year. Deliveries of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whreas.shipments of PP random copolymers decreased significantly.