Why Is the U.S. Still Importing So Much Russian Oil and Petroleum Products?
By Jim Geraghty, National Review
February 15, 2022 9:52 AM
Here’s a flashing neon sign that U.S. energy policy has gone terribly, terribly wrong. Throughout 2021, the U.S. has imported 12 million to 26 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products per month from Russia — that same country we keep enacting new sanctions on, in an effort to deter Vladimir Putin’s territorial ambitions. The most recent month from the Energy Information Agency’s figures is November 2021, at 17.8 million barrels. Last spring, imports of Russian oil hit the highest level in a decade; in August, Russia became the second-highest exporter of oil to the United States. Think that might be a reason Putin feels so confident?
And judging from yesterday’s White House press briefing… if the administration has any solid plans to stop importing Russian oil, they’re being awfully quiet about them.
Q Wouldn’t it be difficult, though, for the U.S. to continue to import Russian oil after all of the rhetoric that we’ve put forward about Russia needing to not invade Ukraine and pressuring Germany to, you know, come out strongly on Nord Stream 2 and possible punishments for Russia if they were to take this step? Wouldn’t it be tough for the U.S. to continue, in that event, to import Russian gas?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, again, it’s a hypothetical. I’m just telling you what we have been very, very clear, the President has been clear, our national security advisor has been clear — we all have been clear, either from this podium or direct communication with Russia, whether it’s with the President or its leadership, that if they were to invade — and in coordination, in lockstep with our European Allies and partners, that’s how we’re moving forward here — that there would be there would be severe, decisive economic consequences. I cannot speak more to — more to that.
In this context, the German hesitation to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline makes a little more sense. If the U.S. is going to keep buying and importing Russian oil as an invasion of Ukraine looms, why should Germany stop buying Russian oil and natural gas?
As Daniel Yergin lays out, the U.S. has the energy resources to step into pole position on oil and natural gas.