As Oil Prices Rise, Europe Faces Trouble

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Oil is headed back toward $55, and the respite oil-poor Europe has had when crude was much lower is ending.

Denmark ranks 44th in the world in terms of oil reserves. Italy ranks 48 and Germany 54th. The balance of Europe is not worth mentioning. Norway is the only oil-rich nation but only 22nd. The offshore reserved of the United Kingdom puts it in 30th, but that supply is dwindling

The region relies very heavily on oil from Russia, but the country is nearly bankrupt, which means it is as anxious as any nation to see prices rise. Energy Post recently reported:

European dependence on oil imports has grown from 76% in 2000 to over 88% in 2014. The EU spends some €215 bn on oil imports, over 5 times as much as gas imports (€40 bn). Russia is the biggest supplier: dependence on Russia has grown from 22% in 2001 to 30% in 2015.  These are some of the main conclusions of a study from Cambridge Econometrics made for the Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).

A recent study by Bloomberg shows that gasoline prices in Europe are among the highest in the world, which means a sharp increase would crimp consumer spending. For example, the price of gas in France is the equivalent of $5.62 per gallon, the 50th highest in the world. Italy is at $6.15, which puts it in 57th place. The price of gas in the United Kingdom is $5.60, which puts it in 49th place.

Both the United Kingdom and European Union are about to face the economic fallout of Brexit, which some economists believe will damage GDP growth badly. Add to that oil and gasoline prices that could double what they were a year ago.