© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The OPEC logo pictured ahead of an informal meeting between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Algiers, Algeria, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina
By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union officials will hold talks in Vienna with OPEC representatives on Monday amid calls for the producer group to increase output and as the EU considers potential sanctions on Russian oil.
OPEC has resisted calls by the United States and the International Energy Agency to pump more crude to cool prices which reached a 14-year peak last month after Washington and Brussels imposed sanctions on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.
OPEC+, which consists of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, will raise output by about 432,000 barrels per day in May.
The EU-OPEC meeting on Monday afternoon is the latest in a dialogue launched between the two sides in 2005.
Russian oil has been excluded from EU sanctions so far. But after the 27-country bloc agreed last week to sanction Russian coal – its first to target energy supplies – some senior EU officials said oil could be next.
The European Commission is drafting proposals for an oil embargo on Russia, the foreign ministers of Ireland, Lithuania and the Netherlands said on Monday, as they arrived for a meeting with their EU counterparts in Luxembourg.
Australia, Canada and the United States, who are less reliant on Russian supply than Europe, have already banned Russian oil purchases.
EU countries are split over whether to follow suit, given their higher dependency and the potential for the move to push up already high energy prices in Europe.
The EU expects its oil use to decrease 30% by 2030, from 2015 levels, under its planned policies to fight climate change – though in the short term, an embargo would trigger a dash to replace Russian oil with alternative supplies.