File - A view shows a petrol station of Gazprom Neft company and the headquarters of the Russian natural gas producer Gazprom in Moscow, February 24, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev
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The United States will struggle to follow through on threats to impose deeper sanctions on the Russian energy sector, as European fears over collateral economic damage leave President Barack Obama's administration with diminished options.Energy is the economic lifeblood of Russia, which vies with the United States and Saudi Arabia to be the world's top oil producer, and the sector is the main target of Western sanctions over Moscow's role in the conflict in Ukraine.Going alone on sanctions is not a realistic option for Washington since it would block U.S. energy companies from collaborating with Russia and let European ones in.Western sanctions imposed late last year forced U.S. oil company ExxonMobil out of Russia's Arctic and ended its collaboration with Russian state oil company Rosneft, with which it signed a $3.2 billion deal in 2011 to develop the region.Beyond energy technology, the U.S. and Europe simply do not have much that Russia needs, experts say.
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