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Oil markets volatile amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Feb. 24, 2022
The Brent Oil Benchmark crosses $100 mark in the hours after the invasion—and prices will only climb further amid low inventories and disruptions to exports from the Russian incursion.

Of all the impacts the widespread Russian invasion of Ukraine might have on the North American trucking industry, fuel prices are among the largest. And as the early stages of the incursion advanced Feb. 24, it appeared global oil prices were reacting badly to the possible disruption of crude oil from the region of the conflict.

Global oil prices surged as markets reacted to news of the widespread Russian military incursion into neighboring Ukraine, according to a report in FleetOwner’s sister publication, Oil & Gas JournalRussia attacked Ukraine from multiple fronts early on Feb. 24, sending in troops, tanks, military aircraft, missiles and cyberattacks. U.S. and European governments responded by vowing to strengthen sanctions imposed early in the week as Russia prepared to invade.

The Brent Oil Benchmark crossed the $100 mark on the morning of Feb. 24, and prices will only climb further amid low inventories and disruptions to exports. The price ceiling for crude could rise further in the coming days if supplies from northern seaports or even Asia-bound crude barrels face imminent disruption.

“War has come to the heartland of Europe, and if the Ukraine conflict draws in the might of the Russian army and other interested and well-equipped forces, unconstrained upside risk to regional geopolitics and oil prices are highly likely in the near term,” Louise Dickson, a senior oil market analyst at Rystad Energy, told Oil & Gas Journal.

Oil prices are soaring with no end in sight on the news of Russia’s full-scale military incursion of Ukraine, which immediately put at risk up to 1 million barrels a day of Russian crude oil exports that transit through Ukraine and make their way to the Black Sea.

“Prices could approach $130/bbl by June if the Ukrainian conflict disrupts Russian crude flows, but that estimate could soar higher if additional disruptions materialize,” Dickson added.

According to Dickson, a swift takeover of Ukraine by Russia and a muted response from the West actually could cap the price volatility. However, the short-term stoking of oil prices will have a wide range of impacts on the oil market—significant disruptions or oil trade flows will be inevitable, as Europe currently sources 25% of its oil imports from Russia, and its port terminals and infrastructure are not equipped for a sudden pivot from piped crude and oil products to port deliveries.

Meanwhile, the price spike also could move OPEC+ to shore up supplies, perhaps to be announced at its March 2 meeting, or expedite an Iranian deal to bring supply-side relief.

The following are stories from various Endeavor Business Media (owner of FleetOwner) publications, discussing aspects of the invasion and how they could impact businesses—not just trucking—in the U.S.

Energy pricing

Russia supplies massive quantities of oil and natural gas to Europe, so between sanctions from Western nations and uncertainty over the impact of the invasion is driving energy prices significantly higher, reports the Oil & Gas Journal.

Security challenge

Security Info Watch looks into how companies can get employees out of troubled regions and what steps businesses should take to prepare for geopolitical strife.

Sanctions

Germany on Feb. 22 halted certification of an $11 billion pipeline that was supposed to begin transporting natural gas from Russia to Germany later this year, a controversial project that would have allowed Russia to bypass Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. Oil & Gas Journal editors look into that economic sanction.

Cyberattacks

In recent conflicts, Russia has stepped up its use of cyberattacks on other countries, raising the possibility of non-military attacks on Ukraine and its allies—including U.S.-based companies. Endeavor’s Military+Aerospace Electronics editors discuss:

At Plastics Machinery Manufacturing, business experts discuss how companies can defend themselves against cyberattacks if Russia begins using that tool to attack targets outside of Ukraine. 

Supply Chain

IndustryWeek discusses the possible ramifications of Russia’s actions on the global supply chain.

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