BRUSSELS/BERLIN, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger called on banning the export of technology for offshore oil and gas exploration, particularly in the Arctic, to Russia as part of sanctions due to the Ukrainian crisis.
"I've always argued in favor of the fact that energy supplies from Russia - oil, gas, uranium etc - should not be included in these sanctions, but the Russians see off shore oil and gas in the Arctic, for example, as a good potential for the future. But this can only be developed by hardware and software from the West, by drills and equipment that their industry cannot supply," Oettinger said at a press-conference on Wednesday.
The European Commission is due to introduce a new package of sanctions targeting Russia’s financial and defense sectors on Thursday.
With the escalating crisis in eastern Ukraine, where the stand-off between Kiev's special forces and independence supporters has grown in violence, killing hundreds of civilians since April, the EU threatened to impose sanctions against whole sectors of Russian economy, and has been looking to decrease its dependence on Russian gas.
"We think that now given the need for security in the gas sector because of the situation in Russia and Ukraine we are thinking of more objective and ambitious energy saving targets," Oettinger said.
"I think that it will put Europe again in the cadre of energy efficiency and will certainly reduce our dependence on the importation of fossil fuels for the next years and will allow us to produce energy while being less reliable on importation," he said.
A RIA Novosti poll among analysts showed earlier that the possible ban on equipment and technology export to Russia would affect its offshore exploration of gas reserves in the Arctic, where both Russian and Western energy companies have seen a large revenue potential.
Russia's joint project with US ExxonMobil in the Kara Sea, as well as the projects with European partners of Russia's largest oil company Rosneft - Norwegian Statoil and Italian Eni - in the Barents Sea, Sea of Okhotsk and the Black Sea would suffer from the ban, the survey showed.
Last week, the US Treasury introduced the so-called Sectoral Sanctions Identification List that affects companies and institutions in defense, energy and banking sectors of the Russian economy. The move followed the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine.
Earlier this year, the United States and the European Union imposed targeted sanctions against a number of Russian officials and companies as a response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has repeatedly called the language of sanctions counterproductive and said these measures would have a boomerang effect on European economies.