The United States, despite the difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ambiguous energy geopolitics in relation to Russia, at the end of 2020 again increased imports of Russian oil and petroleum products – to a maximum since 2011, follows from data from the Energy Information Administration of the US Department of Energy (EIA).
The volume of purchases amounted to 538 thousand barrels per day. In annual terms, supplies from Russia increased by 3.5 percent. Thus, our country has become the second largest exporter of oil and oil products to the United States, displacing Saudi Arabia from this position.
The share of Russia in the United States’ average daily imports of oil and petroleum products last year reached almost seven percent, which is also a record. Even 20 years ago, this figure did not exceed even one percent, breaking this threshold only in 2001 and reaching 5.5 percent in 2011, and then declining and again rising to 5.7 percent in 2019.
As noted by Dmitry Marinchenko, director of the group for natural resources and commodities at Fitch, it is not necessary to conspire about the critical dependence of the United States on supplies from Russia, despite their record indicators. “If necessary, oil from Russia is replaced, say, with oil from the Middle East and vice versa, although each grade of oil has its own characteristics and they are not always completely interchangeable,” he told RIA Novosti.
According to Marinchenko, the increase in Russian supplies may be caused by tough sanctions against Venezuela, which has historically supplied a significant portion of its heavy oil to American refineries. “Traders are trying to replace this oil, including Russian Urals oil, which is also relatively heavy,” the expert said.
The record for Russian supplies was achieved primarily due to the oil product component. So, oil exports from Russia to the United States in 2020 fell by 45 percent – to 73 thousand barrels per day (2018 level). This is the eighth largest oil supply to the United States.