(The Hill) — Russia is one of dozens of countries that supply oil and natural gas to the United States, which gives the U.S. some flexibility in banning the country’s exports over its invasion of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden announced Tuesday morning that the U.S. is “banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy,” while the House is planning to vote on a Russian fuel ban later in the day.
Russia last year accounted for about 3 percent of U.S. foreign imports of crude oil, and about 1 percent of the U.S. supply overall.
About 35 percent of U.S. supply comes from international partners, compared to about 65 percent produced domestically.
With 72 million barrels of oil sent to the United States last year, Russia was the fourth biggest exporter to the U.S., following Canada (about 1.4 billion barrels); Mexico (212 million barrels) and Saudi Arabia (130 million barrels).
But the U.S. energy supply is highly diversified, and many other nations followed Russia: Colombia (65 million barrels); Ecuador (54 million); Iraq (55 million); Brazil (37 million); Nigeria (39 million); Libya (32 million); Guyana (27 million); and the U.K. (14 million).
Imports by the U.S. of Russian oil have grown over the last several years, but have declined since this past summer. Energy imports from Russia rose steadily from 14 million barrels a year to 72 million between 2016 and 2021, with a temporary dip in 2020.
However, Russian crude oil imports were in decline throughout the second half of 2021. After a peak of 9.6 million barrels in August (5 percent of total U.S. imports), imports fell steadily to 3 million barrels by December (1.5 percent of total imports).
To put that another way, in December 2021 — when total imports reached about 55 percent of the level of U.S. domestic production — Americans imported about 0.7 percent as much crude oil from Russia as they produced themselves.
In 2021, the U.S. also imported just under 40 million barrels a year of finished motor gasoline (used for driving cars) and 104 million barrels of fuel oil distillate (used for heating houses).
At about 5 million barrels in 2021, Russian gasoline made up for about 13 percent of U.S. imports, making it the third-largest contributor after Canada (6.7 million) and the Netherlands (5.8 million.) Next came South Korea (4.6 million barrels); Turkey (2.8 million barrels); Italy (2.8 million barrels); India (1.5 million barrels); Saudi Arabia (1.2 million barrels); and the United Kingdom (1 million barrels).
This is all a drop in the barrel, however, next to U.S. domestic production of gasoline, which was about 525 million barrels in 2020. That makes total foreign imports about 7.5 percent of the total, and Russian imports just under 1 percent.
Finally, when it comes to heating oil, Russia is the U.S.’s number two supplier — but it’s a very distant second in a very crowded field. In 2021, first came Canada (46 million barrels); then Russia (8.5 million barrels); the Netherlands (6.5 million barrels); Colombia (6.2 million barrels); Saudi Arabia (5.1 million barrels); India (5.4 million barrels); Belgium (4.9 million barrels); Qatar (4.2 million barrels); South Korea (3.6 million barrels) and Nigeria (3.1 million barrels).