Russian Oil Exports to U.S. Reach 6-year High Amid Sanctions, Tensions

Oil and petroleum sales by Russia to the United States in the first five months of this year reached six-year highs, RBC reported citing data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

According to the data analyzed by the Russian news outlet, the U.S. imported 61.75 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia in January-May 2019, up from 56 million barrels in January-May 2018. Russia’s Federal Customs Service says the value of oil sales to the U.S. reached nearly $3 billion during the first half this year versus $1.6 billion over the same period last year.

The development comes after U.S. sanctions in Venezuela caused a sharp drop in exports from the Latin American country, which was the eighth-largest exporter of crude and petroleum to the U.S., RBC wrote.

In terms of sales to the U.S. of petroleum product only, Russia is second only to Canada this year.

In January, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s most important global business — producing and selling crude oil, which accounts for more than 95% of the country’s export revenue. U.S. refineries had been Venezuela’s top customer, and output has fallen by some 40 percent since then.

This month, Washington put a sweeping freeze on Venezuelan government assets in U.S. territory and threatened to sanction any company that works with socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s government as the Trump administration ratcheted up its bid to force Maduro out.