President Biden bans the import of Russian oil

President Biden has signed an Executive Order (E.O.) to ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the United States – a significant action with widespread bipartisan support that will further deprive President Putin of the economic resources he uses to continue his needless war of choice.

The United States made this decision in close consultation with our Allies and partners around the world, as well as Members of Congress of both parties. The United States is able to take this step because of our strong domestic energy infrastructure and we recognize that not all of our Allies and partners are currently in a position to join us.

But we are united with our Allies and partners in working together to reduce our collective dependence on Russian energy and keep the pressure mounting on Putin, while at the same taking active steps to limit impacts on global energy markets and protect our own economies.

This announcement builds on unprecedented economic costs the United States and our Allies and partners have imposed on Russia. As a result of our historic, multilateral coordination, Russia has become a global economic and financial pariah.

Over 30 countries representing well over half the world’s economy have announced sanctions that impose immediate and severe economic costs on Russia, cut off access to high-tech technology, sap its growth potential, and weaken its military for years to come. The Russian ruble is now worth less than a penny and has hit an all-time low after losing almost half of its value since Putin announced his further invasion of Ukraine.

By isolating Russia’s Central Bank and cutting off the largest Russian banks from the international financial system, we have disarmed his war chest of foreign reserves and left Putin to soften the blow of our sanctions. U.S. and allied export controls are impacting industrial production in Russia, Russian commercial aviation, and other key sectors of the Russian economy.

The United States and governments all over the world are going after Putin’s cronies and their families by identifying and freezing the assets they hold in our respective jurisdictions – their yachts, luxury apartments, money, and other ill-gotten gains.

The Executive Order bans:

  • 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.
  • New U.S. investment in Russia’s energy sector, which will ensure that American companies and American investors are not underwriting Vladimir Putin’s efforts to expand energy production inside Russia.
  • Americans will also be prohibited from financing or enabling foreign companies that are making investment to produce energy in Russia.

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.

U.S. oil and gas production is approaching record highs, while thousands of drilling permits on federal lands go unused. Federal policies are not limiting the production of oil and gas.  To the contrary, the Biden Administration has been clear that in the short-term, supply must keep up with demand, at home and around the world while we make the shift to a secure clean energy future.  

In the long run, the way to avoid high gas prices is to speed up – not slow down – our transition to a clean energy future.  We cannot drill our way out of dependence on a global commodity controlled in part by foreign nations and their leaders, including Putin. The only way to eliminate Putin’s and every other producing country’s ability to use oil as an economic weapon, is to reduce US dependency on oil. 

So, even as President Biden does everything in his power in the short term to make sure we can readily access the oil and gas necessary to protect American consumers and allied countries– including through greater U.S. domestic production that is expected to hit record highs next year – this crisis reinforces our resolve to make America truly energy independent, which means reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. This is a shared goal with its European allies, that the US will work together to achieve.

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