Russia was second-biggest energy exporter to US in Autumn 2019, volumes hit 8-year high
Given the dire state of Russia-US political relations, and Washington's steadfast defense of its alliance with Saudi Arabia, it seems almost unbelievable that Moscow sends more energy exports America's way than Riyadh.
Nevertheless, figures recently published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) say it's true: Russia is America's second-biggest source of crude oil and petroleum products.
Despite years of sanctions, the autumn of 2019 saw the amount of Russian 'black gold' sold to the US reach levels not seen since before the 2013/14 Ukraine crisis. Last October, imports sharply increased, with the Americans purchasing 20.9 million barrels.
Although volumes sourced from Russia paled in comparison to those from Canada (136.5 million barrels), they managed to overtake both the US's southern neighbor Mexico and Saudi Arabia – the world's leading exporter of oil.
Last month, Russian media reported that the US had inadvertently helped Russia boost oil sales through restrictive measures against other countries, such as Iran and Venezuela. This led the Americans to turn to Moscow to make up shortfalls.
Venezuela traditionally ships about 15-20 million barrels of oil to the USA every month, but all imports ceased following sanctions last summer.
Raiffeisenbank analyst Andrey Polishchuk told Moscow daily RBK that another reason for the increase in deliveries may be a fall in prices for Russian Urals oil; in October 2019, the blend cost only $58.5 per barrel – 1.4 times cheaper than the previous year.
The sharp increase in exports beat a record which had stood for over eight years; the last time Russia supplied more oil to the USA was in November 2011, long before the start of tensions over Syria and Ukraine. In November, Russia dropped back into third place, as it delivered 19.2 million barrels compared to Mexico's 21.2 million.
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