OPINION: Close to two weeks since the latest round of sanctions on Russian crude exports, prophecies of global oil prices jumping above $100 per barrel have so far proven groundless.

Instead, Brent oil futures increased above $80 only this week — and on suggestions of a rebound in energy demand next year rather than because of the European Union’s embargo on Russian seaborn oil purchases and the G7-Australia price cap on Russian oil exports outside Europe.

Europe is already starting to source alternative supplies to replace Russian crude.

Just this week, UK supermajor BP took a major step forward in its $6 billion plan to start oil and gas production from a new platform on the Azeri–Chirag–Guneshli complex in Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea waters.

The project is planned to produce first oil by the end of 2023, and ultimately increase its output to 100,000 barrels per day — all of which may be exported to Europe.

Norway’s Equinor, meanwhile, is also preparing to ramp up output from Western Europe’s largest oilfield, Johan Sverdrup in December, with the second development phase targeting an extra 200,000 bpd at peak production next year.

And according to the International Energy Agency, Europe is also eyeing the projects in the Middle East, West Africa, Brazil, Guyana, the US and Kazakhstan as possible alternative sources of supply.

Analysts still point to the risk of potential oil shortages next year, but Europe still has time to invest in improving its energy efficiency and deploying renewable power to help balance its demand with available oil and gas supplies.

The ball is now in Europe’s court, with Russia’s threats to reduce production and exports starting to look increasingly empty.

(This is an Upstream opinion article.)