RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A member of the Russian duma defense committee and a former regional military commander, has suggested that Europe would be “in a bad spot” if Russia attacked Europe’s largest oil center in the Netherlands.
Andrei Gurulyov, a State Duma deputy, said on state television that Europe would “perish” if Russia decided to attack the Netherlands, where about 40 percent of Europe’s crude oil is received and processed, according to a Yahoo News report.
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“No less than 40 percent of crude oil is imported from the Netherlands and processed in its coastal areas,” Gurulyov said. “This is such a small spot that it would be hard to miss.”
He further stressed, “…the main supply chain is via oil tankers; we don’t even need a missile. One torpedo is enough, especially if it is docked in port. It will burn along with the entire infrastructure of the port. Europe will not just freeze; it will go down completely.”
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The Yahoo News report indicates that the politician’s stance does not reflect official state policy. Instead, this is likely to be simply a verbal muscle-flexing by the politician, who is thus also pointing to the vulnerability of Europe’s energy supply.
Indeed, Europe is vulnerable, and not only to military attack. However, it imports a quarter of its crude oil from Russia and has imposed an embargo that will not come into effect for six months. The continent is also very dependent on energy imports, as its own oil, gas, and coal reserves are insufficient to meet its needs.
At the same time, some members of the European Union are discussing capping Russian oil prices to sanction Russia and ostensibly to ensure sufficient oil supplies worldwide at the same time.
The G7 said last weekend it would try to get all major importers of Russian oil on its side to make the price cap work. But Russia sells its oil (especially from the Urals) at a significant discount.
India, for example, buys large quantities of it, refines it, and then sells the resulting diesel and gasoline to the EU and U.S. at large profit margins.