November 29, 2022

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Oil is all Putin still has, says presidential adviser Amos Hochstein

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Amos Hochstein photographed in Beirut, Lebanon on October 27, 2022.

Hussam Shbaro | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

According to Amos Hochstein, special presidential coordinator to President Joe Biden, oil is all that’s left of Russia’s economy after invading Ukraine earlier this year.

“Oil is the only thing they have left in this economy…Putin destroyed the rest of the economy,” Hochstein told Health & Fitness Journal’s Hadley Gamble on Monday.

“He only has the stuff that comes out of the ground. He’s not going to sell his gas to Europe anymore, so all he has left is oil, so he’s financing this war.”

The Russian Embassy in the UK was not immediately available to respond to the comments when contacted by Health & Fitness Journal.

Russia’s economy shrank by 4% yoy in the second quarter and the Central Bank of Russia expects the slowdown to deepen in the coming quarters. The International Monetary Fund expects Russia’s GDP to shrink by 3.4% in 2022.

Hochstein’s comments from the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi come at a volatile time for energy markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

According to Eurostat, Russia was the largest supplier of natural gas and oil to the EU in 2021, however gas exports from Russia to the European Union have declined this year.

“Despite available production and transport capacities, Russia has reduced its gas supplies to the European Union by almost 50% since the beginning of 2022 compared to the previous year,” according to the International Energy Agency.

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Therefore, Hochstein emphasized the importance of acting now to create a safer environment for the development of future technologies in the energy sector.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, energy is the number one issue in the world today,” he said. “And you know, we’re talking about oil and gas here, but the energy transition – look what we just passed in the United States, the largest climate investment, which goes well with what countries like the United Arab Emirates are doing, and some other countries around the world.”

He added that these investments in supply chains and the future of energy more broadly need to be made “today”.

“Let’s not end up with the same energy geopolitics for renewables and for electric vehicles as we did for oil and gas in the 20th century,” he added.

— Health & Fitness Journal’s Elliot Smith contributed to this report.

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