Viva Energy and Ampol cease purchase of Russia’s crude oil

Viva Energy refinery with ships in the foreground (vitol)
Image: Viva Energy

Australian refiner Viva Energy has announced it will stop buying crude oil from Russia, joining a growing number of companies to sever trade ties with the country over its invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Viva joins a spate of companies limiting, putting on hold, or exiting business activities in Russia following a wave of sanctions imposed on Moscow after the invasion—the biggest on a European state since World War Two. 

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A spokesperson for Ampol, Australia’s only other refiner, said the company has not bought Russian crude oil or products since the conflict started.

Viva, which operates in Australia under the Shell brand, said it was “appalled” by the events in Ukraine, while Ampol said it condemned Russia’s actions and supported international sanctions against the country.

Both companies said that they source crude from many different countries, and that they would be able to maintain supplies as the Australian transport energy market was not overly reliant on Russian crude.

“Product supply chains in Australia also typically operate without any Russian oil products,” Ampol said.

However, Ampol acknowledged that the events in Ukraine and current international sanctions were putting pressure on global oil prices and this was impacting Australian retail fuel prices.

Western countries are also facing potential oil prices of over $300 per barrel and the possible closure of the main Russia-Germany gas pipeline if governments follow through on threats to cut energy supplies from Russia.

Oil prices spiked to their highest levels since 2008 on Monday after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington and European allies were considering banning Russian oil imports.

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“It is absolutely clear that a rejection of Russian oil would lead to catastrophic consequences for the global market,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement.

“The surge in prices would be unpredictable. It would be $300 per barrel if not more.”

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