The CEO of a Russian oil company today criticised the US government’s use of energy as a political weapon, Reuters reported.
America’s golden era of energy is an “era of energy colonialism” for other countries, said Igor Sechin during an economic forum in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
The oil tycoon is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies and his company, Rosneft, contributes to over four per cent of global oil output.
Sechin said that the sanctions on Iran and Venezuela limited a third of global oil reserves, causing significant supply problems to consumer nations.
“But indisputably the reality today is that the United States uses energy as a political weapon on a mass scale. Sanctions, or even the threat of their imposition, have a destructive effect on the global energy market ecosystem,” he said.
“Oppression of competitors has become the dominant theme of US economic and foreign policy.”
In the last ten years, America has gone from being one of the largest oil importers to one of the biggest exporters due to huge discoveries of reserves in the US.
This independence has allowed Washington to use oil sanctions as a punishment for geopolitical reasons without affecting global oil prices too severely.
US President Donald Trump has openly said the sanctions seek to drive Iranian exports to zero. Adding that this will force Tehran to the negotiating table to agree a “better deal” after the US unilaterally withdrew from the landmark 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.
The JCPOA, which was being adhered to by all members, sought to limit Tehran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon.
In response, Iran has threatened to increase its production of enriched uranium beyond limits set in the nuclear agreement, although it has not done so yet. It has, however, started to neglect certain “minor” aspects of the JCPOA such as the storage of low-enriched uranium.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Monday that Trump’s sanctions amounted to “economic war” and that no discussion would be held between the two nations until they were lifted.