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Opinion
Julian Lee

How Russian Is It?: A Very Crude Question

New EU rules are coming into effect but oil from the country is going to continue to flow because it’s going to be very hard to separate crude by geography.

Oil will keep flowing from Russian ports

Oil will keep flowing from Russian ports

Photographer: Alexander Ryumin/TASS

Sunday is the day when European Union regulations prohibiting dealings with Russian state energy companies come into effect. That should trigger a further decline in the volume of crude and refined products bought and traded by European companies, but it won’t bring flows to a halt.

Even when, or if, the EU finally imposes sanctions on the purchase of the country’s oil, it won't stop “Russian" crude leaving Russian ports, nor the products made from it from fueling European cars and trucks.