Russian Agriculture Minister Warns of Fuel Shortage Crisis Ahead of Harvest and Planting Season
Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev sounded the alarm on Wednesday, raising concerns about impending fuel shortages that could severely impact Russian farmers during the crucial harvest and winter planting seasons. He proposed temporary export restrictions as a potential solution to this looming crisis.
Minister Patrushev addressed a parliamentary committee, acknowledging the critical issue of diminishing fuel stocks in various regions across Russia. He emphasized that without an adequate fuel supply, farmers would be forced to halt the harvest and forgo winter crop planting, potentially leading to catastrophic consequences for the nation’s agriculture sector.
The Agriculture Ministry’s worries were compounded by the recent surge in prices of fuel and lubricants essential for agricultural operations. This alarming price hike has escalated into an urgent need to secure approximately 500,000 tons of fuel by November, adding to the urgency of the situation.
Minister Patrushev stressed that the government is taking proactive steps to address this looming crisis. He revealed ongoing collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and direct communication with oil refineries to secure the necessary fuel volumes in each region, ensuring that farmers receive the critical resources they need.
In a candid moment, Patrushev floated the idea of implementing temporary export restrictions on petroleum products as a means to stabilize the domestic market. This bold proposal comes as part of a broader strategy to ensure that Russian farmers have access to the fuel they require for their agricultural activities.
Ministry’s Proposal to the Cabinet
Minister Patrushev’s department has already taken concrete steps to address the situation. A proposal has been drafted and submitted to the cabinet, requesting that the Energy Ministry restrict fuel dealers from exporting oil and petroleum products abroad. Instead, this responsibility would be entrusted solely to oil refineries.
The recent surge in oil prices has further complicated matters. Oil prices soared past $90 a barrel earlier in the week following an agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia to extend production cuts. Despite attempts by the G7 to impose a “price cap” at $60 a barrel, Moscow has continued to export oil at a robust pace.
As of Wednesday, the St. Petersburg commodities exchange recorded premium gasoline at a staggering 75,457 rubles ($766.84) per metric ton. Regular gasoline was listed at 66,031 rubles ($671.05) per metric ton, while diesel prices reached 70,377 rubles ($715.21) per metric ton. These skyrocketing fuel costs only exacerbate the challenges faced by Russian farmers.
Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev’s stark warning highlights the impending crisis faced by Russian farmers due to fuel shortages. The collaborative efforts of government departments and the proposal to restrict petroleum product exports underscore the gravity of the situation. As global oil prices continue to rise, the Russian agriculture sector faces a daunting challenge that could have far-reaching consequences for the nation’s food production and economy.
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