Russian oil and oil products remain highly demanded and highly competitive even against the backdrop of the energy and geopolitical confrontation with the West.
At the end of 2020, the United States increased imports of Russian oil and petroleum products to a maximum since 2011, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.
The USA buys 538,000 barrels per day, which marked a yearly increase of 3.5 percent to 7 percent of total purchases. Russia has thus become the second largest exporter of oil and oil products to the United States, having displaced Saudi Arabia from this position.
The record was primarily achieved due to exports of petroleum products, since oil exports from Russia to the United States in 2020 fell by 45 percent to 73,000 barrels per day (8th largest oil supplier to the United States).
Tellingly, the record has been reported at the height of USA's sanctions policy in relation to Russia.
On March 24, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, said that the United States would "be held accountable for the actions that it may take." Patrushev's comments came in response to the remarks from US President's Assistant for National Security Jake Sullivan. The latter stated that the USA and Russia were going to face difficult times in their relations, because the positions of the two countries differ considerably on a number of issues.
Alexei Gromov, the chief officer for the European energy sector at the Institute of Energy and Finance, told Pravda.Ru that record shipments of Russia's oil to the USA is based on the quality of the Russian oil that corresponds to American refining capacities. The expert believes that the Russian oil is even better that the US shale oil.
In addition, the production of shale oil in the United States was in a serious crisis.
As a result, the United States, focusing exclusively on the logic of the economy and healthy competition, has purchased record volumes of Russian oil and petroleum products since 2011.
He stressed that Russian oil products were very competitive in the market, while diesel fuel and other middle distillates are used by Western companies as feedstock for the production of higher quality oil products.
"This is a market situation, in which we have once again proved that Russian hydrocarbons, in particular oil and oil products, remain very popular and highly competitive commodities even under the conditions of energy and geopolitical confrontation between Russia and its Western partners," Alexey Gromov told Pravda.Ru.
The expert noted that Russia, unlike the United States, pursues a fairly reasonable and pragmatic energy policy and does not provoke an exacerbation of geopolitical tensions.
According to the expert, it would be short-sighted for Russia to act so.
"They want aggravation. Russia proceeds from healthy pragmatic market logic implementing the Nord Stream 2 project and supplying natural gas under long-term contracts to European countries," said Alexey Gromov.
According to him, this is the best position that the Russian Federation could choose today.
"All this geopolitical tension will subside sooner or later, and Russia's reputation of the hydrocarbons supplier and partner will not be stained with any geopolitical intrigues," the expert told Pravda.Ru.
According to Bloomberg, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Valero Energy Corp. accept Russian oil at their refineries in Texas and Louisiana.
According to the agency, this is due to the embargo on the imports of Venezuelan fuel oil, which the USA replaces with Russian fuel oil, but not with raw materials from other countries, since US refineries can use fuel oil of certain consistencies.
The product that American refiners buy from Russia is known as semi-refined liquid fuel Mazut 100, which has a sticky consistency, the agency notes.