U.S. Petroleum Imports from Russia Set a Record in Biden’s First Year

By Terence P. Jeffrey | March 1, 2022 | 11:44am EST
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(CNSNews.com) - In 2021, which was President Joe Biden’s first year in office, the United States imported a record volume of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia, according to the preliminary numbers for 2021 published Monday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

During 2021, the United States imported a monthly average of 670,000 barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia, according to the EIA’s preliminary numbers.

Prior to 2021, according to historical numbers published in the EIA’s Monthly Energy Review, the largest volume of crude oil and petroleum products imported into the United States from Russia came in 2011. That year, the United States imported an average of 624,000 barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia.

The 670,000 barrels per day in Russian oil and petroleum products that the United States imported from Russia in 2021 was up from 540,000 barrels per day in 2020; 520,000 in 2019; and 375,000 in 2018.

In 1992, the first year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States imported an average of only 18,000 thousand barrels per day in crude oil and petroleum products from Russia. By 2001, it had climbed to 90,000 barrels per day; and, in 2002, it jumped to 210,000.

When President Biden joined with allies last week in imposing economic sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s oil and gas exports were not targeted.

“As we respond, my administration is using the tools — every tool at our disposal--to protect American families and businesses from rising prices at the gas pump,” Biden explained in an address on Thursday.

“You know, we’re taking active steps to bring down the costs.  And American oil and gas companies should not--should not--exploit this moment to hike their prices to raise profits,” said Biden.

“You know, in our sanctions package, we specifically designed to allow energy payments to continue,” he said.

“I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump,” said Biden. “This is critical to me.”

Daleep Singh, Biden’s Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics, joined White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at a press briefing that same day and explained the administration’s position.

“To be clear: Our sanctions are not designed to cause any disruption to the current flow of energy from Russia to the world,” said Singh.

“When it comes to energy: This is the one area — this is the one area--where Russia has systemic importance in the global economy,” said Singh. “We know it’s the second-largest natural gas producer in the world. It’s also the second-largest crude oil producer in the world. 

“That’s not to say that we have a dependence on Russia; Russia depends on those revenues just as much as the world needs its energy,” he said.  “But we’re not going to--we’re not going to--do anything which causes an unintended disruption to the flow of energy, as the global economic recovery is still underway.”

EIA chart listing the net imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia in thousand barrels per day.
EIA chart listing the net imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia in thousand barrels per day.

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