US President Joe Biden bans Russian oil imports

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday banned Russian imports of oil and other energy in retaliation for invading Ukraine, underscoring strong bipartisan support for a move he said would drive up energy prices in the USA.

“We ban all Russian oil and gas energy imports,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “It means that Russian oil will no longer be acceptable in American ports and that the American people will deliver another mighty blow to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war machine.”

Biden expressed America’s support for the Ukrainian people and predicted their eventual victory. “Russia can continue to grind its lead at a horrible cost, but this is already clear: Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin. Putin may be able to take a city, but he can never hold the country,” he said.

Oil prices jumped on the news, with benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 for May climbing 5.4% to $129.91 a barrel at 1345 GMT.

It was not immediately clear when the import ban would come into effect.

Biden has worked with allies in Europe, which are far more dependent on Russian oil, to isolate Russia’s energy-intensive economy and Putin. Britain announced shortly before Biden’s remarks that it would phase out imports of Russian oil and petroleum products by the end of 2022.

Biden said sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies had already caused a “crater” of the Russian economy. He said the latest steps were taken in close consultation with allies and partners around the world.

Democrats face a tough congressional midterm election in November, when Biden’s handling of the economy, and in particular rising prices, is expected to be a major issue for voters.

U.S. Crude Imports

The United States imported more than 20.4 million barrels of crude and refined products per month on average from Russia in 2021, or about 8% of U.S. liquid fuel imports, according to the Energy Information Administration, and the ban should send already high gasoline prices and skyrocketing inflation. The United States also imports a negligible amount of coal from Russia.

U.S. retail gasoline prices hit an all-time high on Tuesday, and prices are expected to continue to rise as the U.S. moves to ban imports of Russian oil. The average cost of a gallon of gasoline at retail hit $4,173 early Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association.

Biden predicted prices would rise further in the wake of “Putin’s war,” but vowed to do everything he could to minimize the impact on the American people. He also warned US companies against exploiting the situation to engage in profiteering or price gouging.

“Today’s decision is not without cost here at home. Putin’s war is already hurting American families at the gas pump…I will do everything I can to minimize price increases of Putin here at home,” Biden said.

“Russia’s aggression is costing us all. Now is not the time to take advantage,” said the Democratic president, who has repeatedly targeted big US companies for unfairly raising prices.

In November, Biden cited mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies and asked the Federal Trade Commission to dig deeper into possible “illegal conduct” in the market.

Biden pushed back against Republicans’ accusations that his administration’s policies were restricting U.S. energy production, noting that oil and gas companies have 9,000 onshore drilling licenses that they are not using.

“We are approaching a record (level) of oil and gas production in the United States and we are on track to set a record level of production next year.”

U.S. Senator Chris Coons said the administration was coordinating with European allies “and making sure we had laid the groundwork to understand how to effectively implement a ban on Russian energy.”

“We are going to see an increase in gas prices here in the United States. In Europe, they will see dramatic price increases. This is the price to pay for standing up for freedom and standing with the Ukrainian people, but it’s going to cost us,” Coons said. Recount CNN.

The White House had been coordinating with U.S. congressional leaders working on fast-track bipartisan legislation to ban Russian imports, but the ban announced by Biden on Tuesday would render any bill moot.

Biden said the crisis has underscored the importance of transitioning to clean energy supplies.

Republican lawmakers praised the decision on social media, while criticizing Biden’s green energy policies and urging the administration to support more oil and gas production at home.

US Representative Susan Wild said Americans should make the greatest necessary sacrifice. “Obviously nobody wants to pay more for gas,” Wild, a Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told MSNBC.

In announcing it would phase out imports of Russian oil and petroleum products by the end of 2022, Britain said it was giving the market and businesses more than enough time to find alternatives to imports , which account for 8% of demand.

“The Government will also work with businesses through a new Petroleum Task Force to help them use this time to find alternative supplies,” the UK Business and Energy Secretary said. Kwasi Kwarteng.

Published on

March 09, 2022

Kevin E. Boling