US Hikes Imports of Russian Oil Despite Sanctions

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Russian crude oil and petroleum products supplies to the US have recently hit record highs, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), despite the rising pressure of sanctions (NC Apr.15'21). North America remains Russia's second-largest market for petroleum products, the draft of the Master Plan for the development of the country's oil industry says. North America accounts for some 13% of total Russian petroleum products exports, with the US taking some 85% of that amount. Last year, Russia exported 42.2 million metric tons of diesel, 5.5 million tons of gasoline, 31.9 million tons of mazut heavy fuel oil and 1.4 million tons of jet fuel. According to the US EIA, imports of Russian oil and products recently hit 10-year highs to account for some 8% of the total US intake in January. US refineries are ramping up runs as the market recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, while imports of Venezuelan barrels are limited by sanctions. Last year, imports of Russian crude of some 538,000 b/d were the highest in the last decade. Russia's Master Plan, however, says that future demand in North America might also decline in the coming years as the US steps up efforts to tackle global warming. As a result, even the most optimistic scenarios envisage a 10%-13% drop in oil consumption in the US by 2035 compared to 2019 levels, while a more proactive climate agenda might put that figure at 30%-40%.

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