The Wall Street Journal and other outlets are reporting that the U.S. will announce a ban on Russian oil imports “as soon as Tuesday”, according to people familiar with the matter.
A ban on Russian oil imports was considered for both the U.S. and its European allies, but the U.S. will move forward alone for now, as the ban for European allies would likely have untenable consequences.
The news sent crude oil prices soaring, with the WTI climbing to $124 early on Tuesday.
Last year, imports of Russian oil and petroleum products represented approximately 8% of the U.S. total, while imports of Russian oil accounted for 3% of total crude shipments in the U.S. in 2020.
On his first day in office, President Biden announced the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, which could have allowed the replacement of Russian crude imports by Canadian oil.
The Biden administration also bumped heads with domestic oil producers, adopting the agenda of environmental groups and policies such as the ban of drilling on federal lands, ignoring the geopolitical aspects of the United States’ energy vulnerability.
The White House is expected to announce “offsetting measures” to the Russian oil ban, including the potential release of additional reserves from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and measures to stimulate domestic production.
The United States is also negotiating with Venezuela to arrange oil imports into the U.S., possibly removing some of the current sanctions in place.