Joe Biden has decreed an embargo on American imports of Russian oil and gas in order to sanction Russia in the war against Ukraine. The American president called on oil companies not to take advantage of the crisis to raise prices in order to allow European countries to be independent from Russian gas and oil.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday decreed an embargo on American imports of Russian oil and gas, in order to increase the sanctions imposed on Russia and “deal another powerful blow to Putin” in the face of the war in Ukraine. Almost simultaneously, the United Kingdom announced the end of its Russian energy imports by the end of 2022, through the voice of British Minister Kwasi Kwarteng.
This decision was taken “in close coordination” with the allies of the United States, said Joe Biden. “We will not help subsidize Putin’s war.” Europe has, for the moment, refused to decree an embargo on Russian imports, which provide 40% of its natural gas needs and 30% for oil.
The United States are net exporters of energy, that is to say that they produce more oil and gas than they consume, recalled Joe Biden. “We can make this decision, while others cannot,” he explained. “But we are working closely with Europe and our partners to put in place a long-term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy.” He adds: “We remain united in our intention to maintain increasing pressure on Putin and his war machine.”
According to Japanese media, Japan is also considering, among other options, the application of an embargo on Russian energy imports. As for the oil companies, they are announcing one after the other their withdrawal from Russia. Tuesday was the turn of Shell, which followed in the footsteps of BP, ExxonMobil or the Italian Eni.
Russian oil represents only 8% of American imports and 4% of the consumption of petroleum products in the United States, which does not import Russian gas. Even before the invasion of Ukraine, US imports had already been greatly reduced.
The White House had, in recent days, prepared minds for a unilateral announcement, marking for the first time a divergence between Westerners on the sanctions to be imposed on Russia.
Initially hesitant, in particular because this embargo should further accelerate the inflation which has plagued his mandate for several months, Joe Biden is responding to a strong request from Congress, several representatives of which have been urging him to act for several days. US lawmakers had begun preparing a bill supported by the Democratic majority and the Republican opposition – a rarity in a context of extreme political division in the United States – to ban these imports of Russian oil and gas.
Record for American gasoline
Joe Biden has therefore decided to grill their politeness, perhaps wishing to fuel the small burst of popularity given to him by his management of the war in Ukraine in the polls. “It’s the right decision to make,” said Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz on CNBC. “The next step is to work with Europe to do the same thing, wean itself off Russian oil and gas.”
“We are going to see an increase in fuel prices here in the United States,” warned CNN, Democratic Senator from Delaware Chris Coons, and “in Europe, they are going to see dramatic increases. defending freedom and supporting the Ukrainian people.”
The prospect of an American embargo also immediately caused prices to soar: Brent, the benchmark for crude oil in Europe, rode above 130 dollars on Tuesday, up 7.55% to 132.52 dollars. It is not very far from the absolute record of 147.50 dollars per barrel, recorded in 2008. And the price of gasoline in the United States set a new absolute record on Tuesday: the gallon of gasoline (3.78 liters) is worth an average of $4.17, according to the AAA Automobile Association. In one month, the average price increased by 20%.