At the third international pipeline forum Jeffrey Lion, a leading analyst at the U.S. Department of Energy, said that Washington was interested in Russian oil exports.
"We are interested in Russia, more than anyone else, increasing oil exports and regard Russia developing direct supplies of crude oil to the U.S. market as no less important," Mr. Lion noted.
In his opinion, the demand for crude on the U.S. market is predicted to grow by about 2% a year and the United States will not be able to meet its requirements on its own.
"We count on Russia's help in solving this problem," he said. He added that he regretted that the export of Russian oil products was currently insufficient for the U.S.
According to him, the U.S. government is offering Russia assistance in overcoming the difficulties the Russian side encounters in boosting the export supplies to the United States. "We are ready, in particular, to offer financial options, for instance, to prepare a feasibility study," Mr. Lion added.
The analyst said that Russia was a major supplier of liquefied natural gas to the United States.
"We hope to continue the mutually advantageous dialogue on this issue and count on Russia being a major player in this market," Mr. Lion said.
Presently, Russian oil is brought to the United States from wells on Sakhalin - a Russian island in the Pacific - by tankers from Murmansk port in the Barents Sea.
Analysts believe that, in principle, in the near future Russia will be able to compete with OPEC as a supplier of hydrocarbons to the United States. About 400 million metric tons of oil a year are now extracted in Russia and the output continues to grow.
Yevgeny Balitsky, the head of the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine signed an order from the central election commission to start working on a referendum for the region to join Russia