US resumes Russian oil imports, defies sanctions

Washington: The US has resumed importing oil from Russia for the first time in more than a year, despite the ongoing sanctions imposed on Moscow over its military intervention in Ukraine, according to a Sputnik Globe report.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the US imported 36,800 barrels of Russian oil in October and 9,900 barrels in November, worth $2.7 million and $749,500, respectively. The imports were made possible by specific licenses granted by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which oversees the enforcement of sanctions.

The EIA data also revealed that the US paid a premium for the Russian oil, as one barrel cost $74 in October and $76 in November, well above the “price cap” of $60 per barrel set by the US and its allies in 2022. The price cap was part of a coordinated effort by the US, the G7 countries, the EU, Switzerland, and Australia to reduce Russia’s income from oil exports, as a response to its annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The US banned the import of oil, gas, and other energy resources from Russia in March 2022, along with other sanctions targeting Russian individuals, entities, and sectors. However, the OFAC has the authority to issue licenses for certain transactions that are otherwise prohibited by the sanctions, on a case-by-case basis.

The reasons behind the US decision to resume importing Russian oil are unclear, but some experts have speculated that it could be related to the global energy crisis, the geopolitical tensions with China, or the diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict.


Sunil Kumar Dhangadamajhi

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