Guest “The answers are: Not much and because” by David Middleton
With the criminal Soviet invasion of Ukraine, the subject of US oil imports from Russia has popped up in the news quite a few times over the past week or so. As a petroleum geologist, I cringe whenever the media discusses almost anything related to oil & gas production. This is particularly true for political commentators on both sides of the political spectrum.
There seems to be some fairly common media misconceptions regarding this subject:
- The importation of Russian oil is a recent development.
- The volume of imported Russian oil is massive.
- The US is dependent on Russian oil.
- Greenlighting the Keystone XL pipeline would eliminate these imports.
- Resuming oil & gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico would eliminate these imports.
- Accelerating the energy “transition” to green schist would eliminate these imports (See Ron White)
- Biden caused this problem.
Starting with point #7, Biden didn’t cause this problem. However, everything he has done has made it worse and everything his maladministration is proposing to do, will make it yet even worse.
How Much Oil Does the US Import From Russia?
The volume of imported Russian oil varies widely on a monthly basis.
In June 2021, the US imported a record average of 844,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) from Russia.
Prior to 2002, the US imported less than 100,000 bbl/d from Russia. Since 2005, the US has imported 300,000 to 600,000 bbl/d from Russia,
While 300,000 to 600,000 bbl/d sounds like a lot…
It’s really just a drop in the
bucket barrel. In December 2021, total US crude oil and refined product imports averaged a bit over 8.5 million bbl/d, only about 400,000 bbl/d came from Russia.
Crude Oil vs Petroleum Products
FEBRUARY 18, 2022
EIA expects U.S. petroleum trade to shift toward net imports during 2022
Following its historic shift to being a net exporter of petroleum in 2020, the United States continued to export more petroleum (which includes crude oil, refined petroleum products, and other liquids) than it imported in 2021. According to our February 2022 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), we expect net crude oil imports to increase, making the United States a net importer of petroleum in 2022.
A country is a net importer if it imports more of a commodity than it exports. Conversely, a country is a net exporter if it exports more of a commodity than it imports. Many factors affect net trade numbers because trade reflects supply and demand conditions both domestically and internationally.
Historically, the United States has been a net importer of petroleum. During 2020, COVID-19 mitigation efforts caused a drop in oil demand within the United States and internationally. International petroleum prices decreased in response to less consumption, which diminished incentives for key petroleum-exporting countries to increase production. This shift allowed the United States to export more petroleum in 2020 than it had in the past.
Also in 2020, the difference between U.S. crude oil imports and exports fell to its lowest point since at least 1985. Net crude oil imports subsequently rose by 19% in 2021 to an average of 3.2 million barrels per day (b/d) as crude oil consumption increased in response to rising economic activity. We forecast that the United States will continue to import more crude oil than it exports in 2022, reaching an estimated annual average of 3.9 million b/d. However, we expect net imports to fall to 3.4 million b/d in 2023 as domestic crude oil production increases to an all-time high of 12.6 million b/d.
Since 2010, the United States has exported more refined petroleum products, including distillate fuel oil, hydrocarbon gas liquids, and motor gasoline, among others, than it has imported. Net exports of refined petroleum products grew to 3.3 million b/d in 2020 and remained about the same in 2021. We expect petroleum product net exports will reach new highs of 3.6 million b/d in 2022 and 3.8 million b/d in 2023.
Principal contributor: Ornella KazeEIA
The US has been a net importer of crude oil for a long time. In 2010, the US became a net exporter of refined petroleum products. In 2020, the US became a net exporter of crude oil plus refined petroleum products. EIA anticipates that we will shift back to a net importer this year.
Most of our Russian imports consist of (sort of) refined petroleum products.
The vast majority of the refined petroleum product imports consist of “unfinished oils.”
|Unfinished Oils||All oils requiring further processing, except those requiring only mechanical blending. Unfinished oils are produced by partial refining of crude oil and include naphthas and lighter oils, kerosene and light gas oils, heavy gas oils, and residuum.|
Why Does the US Import Oil From Russia?
The short answer is that crude oil and refined petroleum products are globally traded commodities, the US consumes about 4 million bbl/d of crude oil more than it produces and Russia produces about 5 million bbl/d of crude oil more than it consumes. Even though, the US receives only a tiny fraction of exported Russian crude oil, the material balance calculation is global.
The long answer is that US refinery demands match up with Russian supplies in an interesting way.
Why do we import from Russia?
U.S. West Coast (USWC) refineries rely on imports of light sweet crude oil from other countries, including Russia, because access to U.S. produced light sweet crude oil is challenged by geography, transportation and logistics.
Our refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast (USGC) import heavier crude and unfinished oils from Russia that our complex refineries can transform into other products including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
Gasoline and diesel represent only a small part of Russian imports to the United States, largely going to the East Coast. The U.S. East Coast is reliant on foreign sources of refined product due to lack of local refining capacity and infrastructure to economically move products from refining centers along the USGC to markets along the eastern seaboard.
Why have Russian imports increased?
In 2021, increased Russian imports to refineries in California and Washington state have helped offset lower volumes of light sweet crude imports into California from other countries—notably Nigeria—and lower volumes of U.S.-produced crude oil shipped by rail to Washington.
Increased imports of crude oil to the USGC region in 2021 were largely driven by disruptions to U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil production caused by Hurricane Ida and have since declined.
And, since 2019, U.S. refineries have increased imports of unfinished heavy oils from Russia to help replace heavy sour crude from Venezuela that U.S. refineries can no longer import.American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
West coast refineries (who knew there were any?) import light sweet crude from Russia and other countries because there is a lack of pipeline capacity to deliver enough domestically produced oil to the region. Gulf Coast refineries import some heavier Russian crude to offset Venezuelan imports that are no longer available.
Keystone XL Pipeline
On Day One of his miserable maladministration, Brandon cancelled the permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline and halted its construction. This pipeline would have been able to deliver over 800,000 bbl/d to US refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast regions.
A year before Brandon idiotically cancelled the pipeline, TransCanada had already secured commitments from oil producers for 500,000 bbl/d for up to 20 years. This would have offset much of the crude oil we import from outside of North America.
Reversing Brandon’s moronic decision today, wouldn’t eliminate the need to import Russian oil. However, we would be one year closer to completion of the pipeline, without that moronic decision. For that matter, had the Obama maladministration not also moronically blocked its construction, it would probably already be completed.
In Nov. 2015, President Barack Obama announced his administration would not grant permits for the construction of this pipeline in order to further their commitment to fighting climate change.6 In his first week at the Oval Office, President Trump signed an executive order clearing the way for the pipeline project.7 The Republican party had believed that the construction of the pipeline will create more jobs and provide a boost to the economy. On Jan. 20, 2021, President Joe Biden rescinded the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. TC Energy said it was stopping construction earlier the same day.3Investopedia
Gulf of Mexico Leasing
While Brandon’s even more moronic (and unlawful) refusal to hold Gulf of Mexico lease sales, hasn’t significantly impacted US oil production yet, within a decade, it will likely lead to the US having to import an additional 1 million bbl/d of crude oil.
Regarding the Soviet Union’s Criminal War of Aggression Against Ukraine…
I wrote this two months ago:
If Putin seriously wants to seize Ukraine, this winter will probably be his best opportunity. With the US saddled with a dementia-ridden “president” and even less competent “vice president,” and a Congress controlled by left-wing zealots for at least the next 12 months, coupled with Putin’s ability to turn off Europe’s supply of natural gas on a whim, he is literally in the “catbird seat.” (Yes, I know I just wrote that Putin is literally in an idiomatic phrase.) That said, why would Putin risk triggering World War III? It’s not that there’s a long history of perceived weakness among Western democracies triggering wars in the past…
While I seriously doubt that the two nations who suffered most horribly during World War II would intentionally start World War III, why does this remind me of the 1930’s? Substitute Russia for Nazi Germany and Red China for Imperial Japan, toss in a healthy dose of western weakness… and the similarities are eerie.“Renewable Energy Dogmatism” – The New Red Menace?
Needless to say, Jen “Circle Back” Psaki thinks doubling down on stupid is the answer to Russian oil imports…
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. needs to decrease its reliance on foreign oil by switching over to renewable energy, not increasing domestic production.Fox News
“Russian warship, go f*** yourself”
The defiant soldiers of Snake Island are actually ‘alive and well,’ says Ukraine’s navy
By Sebastian Shukla and Lianne Kolirin, CNN
Updated 3:06 PM Thu EST, Mon February 28, 2022
CNN — The Ukrainian defenders of Snake Island – who were all feared dead after their defiant response to threats from a Russian warship – are actually “alive and well,” according to the Ukrainian Navy.
All of the soldiers on the tiny island in the Black Sea were thought to have been killed in an attack on the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last Thursday.
According to a purported audio exchange, one of the Ukrainian troops had responded to a warning from an approaching Russian vessel to lay down their weapons or face bombing by saying, “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”
According to the navy the soldiers on the island repelled two attacks by Russian forces but in the end were forced to surrender “due to the lack of ammunition.”
The statement added that Russian attackers have completely destroyed the island’s infrastructure, including lighthouses, towers and antennas.
Russian state media also showed the arrival of the Ukrainian soldiers in Sevastopol, Crimea where they are being held.
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride”
Live updates: Zelenskyy declines US offer to evacuate Kyiv
By The Associated Press
February 25, 2022
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was asked to evacuate Kyiv at the behest of the U.S. government but turned down the offer.
Zelenskyy said in response: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” according to a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of the conversation, who described Zelenskyy as upbeat.
Reminds me of General George Patton on the relief of Bastogne…
Bastogne remained surrounded, and when the Germans demanded its surrender, the acting commander of the 101st Airborne, Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe, replied, “Nuts!” Upon hearing the now-famous response Patton said: “Any man who is that eloquent deserves to be relieved. We shall go right away.”
On Christmas Eve Patton judged that “the German General Staff is running this attack and has staked all on this offensive to regain the initiative. They are far behind schedule and, I believe beaten. If this is true, the whole army may surrender.”PATTON’S FINEST HOUR
The brave and eloquent defenders of Ukraine deserve to be relieved.
If not for the November 2020 coup d’état…
62 percent of voters say Putin wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if Trump were president: poll
BY CAROLINE VAKIL – 02/25/22
A new Harvard Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)-Harris Poll survey released Friday found that 62 percent of those polled believed Putin would not be moving against Ukraine if Trump had been president. When looking strictly at the answers of Democrats and Republicans, 85 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats answered this way.