Friday, May 24, 2024

Russian oil getting into UK via refinery loophole, reports claim

(BBC News) Millions of barrels of fuel made from Russian oil are still being imported to the UK despite sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine, research claims.

A so-called “loophole” means Russian crude is refined in countries such as India and the products sold to the UK.

This is not illegal and does not breach the UK’s Russian oil ban, but critics say it undermines sanctions aimed at restricting Russia’s war funds.

The UK government denied there had been any imports of Russian oil since 2022.

But a spokesman said internationally recognized “rules of origin” define that crude, once refined in another country, is classed for the purposes of trade as originating from the refining country.

The UK is among many western countries to ban the import of all oil and oil products that originate in Russia in a bid to limit the amount of cash Moscow can generate from fossil fuels.

But two separate reports, shared exclusively with the BBC, suggest the rules on refining enable products made from Russian crude oil to arrive on UK soil.

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said this “refining loophole” meant countries such as India and China, who have not sanctioned the Kremlin, are able to legally import Russian crude and refine it into oil products such as jet fuel and diesel.

They then export those products to the likes of the UK and the EU.

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