Can Russia sanctions work? This expert has doubts

Sanctions against Russia may face one key headwind: the world needs its oil too much, one expert said.

"The world can not do without Russian energy," Fereidun Fesharaki, chairman of FACTS Global Energy (FGE), told the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference, Monday.

"All of these sanctions, all of these restrictions, at the end of the day, they all face the same problem: If there is not energy coming out of Russia, the world can not go on."

Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Russia has been sanctioned by both Europe and the U.S. for its part in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where violence flared up a year ago, and for its annexation of the Crimea region.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in last year, more than 5,000 people have been killed, according to the United Nations. Sanctions, combined with the precipitous fall in the oil price, have damaged Russia's economy, sending its currency plunging along with its political standing on the global stage.

Russia produces around 10.7 million barrels of oil a day; that's nearly 12 percent of the global oil production of around 90.88 million barrels a day in 2013, according to data from U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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"Russian oil and gas goes to Europe, it goes to Asia," Fesharaki said.

"If we are going to adjust ourselves to live without Russian gas and Russian oil, you need a 15-20 year plan ahead of time."

To be sure, sanctions haven't directly targeted Russia's energy output and are instead aimed at the financial sector, prominent individuals and businesses, but they have scared off foreign investment in the country.

Capital flight from Russia in 2014 totaled $151.5 billion, the highest level on record, central bank data showed in January, highlighting the impact that the sanctions have had on investor confidence.

-- Holly Ellyatt and Dina Gusovsky contributed to this article.