Energy crisis

Oil hits $139 a barrel as US threatens Russia ban

Prices are rising at the pumps

Oil prices have rocketed to $139 a barrel before easing back to $130 as the US said it may lead a ban on Russian supplies.

Investors were rocked by comments from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday who said Washington was considering such a move in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi later confirmed the chamber was “exploring” legislation and said $10bn (£7.6bn) of aid was being directed to help the war effort.

Stock markets in Asia fell again this morning, with the Hang Seng in Hong Kong down by 3% and Japan’s Nikkei plunging 2.7% amid fears that Vladimir Putin will retaliate by cutting off supplies of oil and gas to Europe, though this would also damage the Russian economy and his ability to finance the conflict.

The price of Brent crude is 20% higher over the last week, triggering a leap in prices of fuel for motorists and adding to inflationary pressures. The average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts is 152.20p, while diesel has risen to a new high of 155.79p.

Energy giant Shell was forced to defend its decision to purchase Russian crude oil despite the invasion of Ukraine and said it would donate any profits to relieve hardship in Ukraine.

More multinational companies joined the boycott of Russia, including financial services companies PwC, KPMG, Netflix, American Express, Paypal and Visa.

Plexus Holdings the AIM-quoted oil and gas engineering services business based in Aberdeen, today said it has suspended its licence agreement on wellhead engineering equipment with its Russian licensee partner Gusar until further notice.

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