March 8, 2022: the U.S. banned oil imports from Russia as White House explores drastic plans to buffer the economy from energy shock
Speaking at the White House on Tuesday morning, President Biden said the move targets “the main artery of Russia’s economy”.
“We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,” he told reporters.
Rights advocates and Ukrainian leaders have called on the US and its European allies to sanction Russia’s oil-and-gas sector in response to the country’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which has devastated major cities and forced two million people to flee the country.
Ban starting March 8, 2022
The consecutive blows to Russia’s energy sector immediately reverberated throughout the global economy. Gasoline prices in the United States continued their rapid ascent, climbing to an average of $4.17 a gallon Tuesday, up from $3.62 one week ago, according to AAA.
Economists have begun warning that the energy price shock could hit the European economy particularly hard.
Russia is the world’s third-largest producer of oil, and reliance on its exports is so high that Western leaders had initially ruled out targeting its exports. But Russia’s sustained invasion of Ukraine led Western leaders to change course, even if the decision proves particularly painful for European nations, some of which depend on Russia for as much as 80 percent of their energy needs.
Western countries, especially European nations that rely on Russian oil and gas for a large share of their energy needs, have hesitated amid fears a ban would cut them off from much-needed supplies and send prices skyrocketing.
The importation into the United States of Russian crude oil and certain petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, and coal.
Last year, the U.S. imported nearly 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products from Russia and this step will deprive Russia of billions of dollars in revenues from U.S. drivers and consumers annually.
Americans will also be prohibited from financing or enabling foreign companies that are making investment to produce energy in Russia.
Putin’s brutal war has led to higher energy prices and raised costs for Americans at home. Today, President Biden made clear that he will keep working to mitigate the pain American families feel at the pump and reduce our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels.
The Administration has already committed to releasing more than 90 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this fiscal year, with an emergency sale of 30 million barrels announced just last week. After intensive around-the-clock coordination and consultation by President Biden, the International Energy Agency (IEA) Member countries agreed to a collective release of an initial 60 million barrels of crude oil from our strategic petroleum reserves, with the United States committing half of that in the emergency sale.
We are in conversations with a range of energy producers and consumers on further steps we can take to ensure a stable global supply of energy.
The White House announcement came amid a rising bipartisan clamor to intensify economic penalties against Russia.
Biden added: “I said I would level with the American people from the beginning, and when I first spoke to this, I said defending freedom is going to cost us as well in the United States.”
The global response was immediate
Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted to the announcement with a decree instructing his Cabinet to produce a list of items to stop importing and exporting until the end of 2022.
Russia also this week threatened to cut the flow of gas via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe in response to the West’s financial penalties.