Myanmar buys Russian oil turned away by the West

Myanmar buys Russian oil turned away by the West
FILE PHOTO: Myanmar’s junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who ousted the elected government in a coup on February 1, 2021, presides over an army parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, March 27, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

More and more developed countries are limiting their demand for Russian oil as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine. Notably, the US banned crude oil imports from Russia back in March. An EU embargo on Russian oil is also approaching, coming into effect this December. So far, the biggest buyers of Russian oil have been in Asia, but traders have said even they could begin limiting their consumption once the EU embargo kicks off.

Developing countries have recently been turning to cheap Russian oil amid their own shortages. Myanmar is one of these countries, and junta chief Min Aung Hlaing confirmed this week that the country had bought cargoes of Russian oil that will begin arriving in September. Russian oil is currently less expensive because of the sanctions and restrictions against it, selling around 10% less than similar crudes on the market. But it’s still unclear exactly how Russia will ship this recently purchased oil to Myanmar. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are among the other countries with increasing demand for Russian oil. In fact, despite all the piled-on sanctions, Russia has seen a jump in oil exports this year, with a 38% rise in earnings, according to an economy ministry document seen by Reuters.

Key comments:

“We discussed buying and distributing fuel oil from Russia months before our head of state’s visit to Russia in July. During his visit, the deal was successfully done. We aim to buy high-quality fuel oil at a cheap price from the country where we can get it quickly," Myanmar’s junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said on Wednesday.

“The impact of sanctions on Russia’s economy is very uneven. In some sectors, it has been catastrophic, such as the car industry. The oil sector is relatively unscathed for now," said Janis Kluge, senior associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.