Is the US Boycott of Russian Oil a Good Deal for the United States?

President Joe Biden announced an embargo on Russian oil imports into the United States on Tuesday.

The decision was expected, it has now been recorded. President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced an embargo on Russian oil imports into the United States in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

This announcement is intended to impose sanctions on Russia “for its unjustified and unprovoked war” against this country, the White House said. However, the American boycott of Russian oil is a good thing for the United States.

Very low input

The risk to US supplies is not very high. Russian oil represents only 3% of US imports (245 million barrels), a figure that rises to 8% if we consider all processed products such as oils.

At the same time, the United States accounted for just 1.3% of Russia’s oil exports in 2020, according to UN Comtrade data.

New customers ahead

The European Union is trying to work its way out of its dependence on Russian oil, even though the differences within the EU are great. For example, Russian oil accounts for only 9% of imports for France, compared to almost 42% for Germany.

Olaf Scholz stressed on Monday that imports of fossil fuels from Russia were “essential”. The German Chancellor also ruled that European supplies cannot be secured otherwise at this stage. But the US announcement could act as an accelerator.

“We will decide in due course whether to follow the United States, but it will be a unified response either way,” said the entourage of the Secretary of State for Ecological Transition. “Europe will remain united, coherent and coordinated for any type of decision,” we insisted. This Tuesday, the European Union unveiled a plan to minimize its reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

The result is simple: the 27 should look more closely at their other suppliers, namely Canada, Norway, Algeria, Qatar and of course the United States…

But a risk of continued price increases

In fact, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the United States had virtually halted imports of Russian oil. Despite Russia’s small share of oil imports, the United States is also seeing price increases at the pump, coupled with the general context of rising oil prices. The price of a gallon of gasoline (3.78 liters) passed the 4 dollar mark on Sunday and is approaching the absolute record (4.11 dollar), which dates from 2008.

Does the United States still have to compensate with former enemies?

Recall that the United States became net exporters in 2020 (exports greater than imports) in 2020, a first in the modern era, and remained so in 2021. So they can draw on their reserves, but the country suffers from insufficient production capacity. the covid crisis.

The United States will be able to turn to Canada (61% of its oil imports), but according to several US media outlets, the Biden administration recently resumed contact with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to discuss the possible relaxation of sanctions against the country. study. 2019.

The country is also negotiating with longtime enemy Iran to relaunch the 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Success would lift sanctions on Iranian oil and add 1.3 to 1.5 million barrels per day to the market.

The Biden administration also wants to encourage Saudi Arabia to produce more black gold, which it has so far refused to do despite rising prices.

Olivier Chicheportiche Journalist BFM Business