Russia cannot yet get involved in sanctions “games” with the United States, expert Igor Yushkov believes. Or maybe Rosneft is playing a completely different game?
Russia increased US oil exports
On the website of the S&P Global Platts agency, in the article “Increase in US imports of Russian oil can complicate sanctions against Venezuela?” it was reported that “US refineries on the Gulf of Mexico are increasing imports of crude oil from Russia in response to sanctions on the export of crude oil from Venezuela and lowering prices for sour fuel oil in anticipation of a review by the International Maritime Organizations (IMO) of rules for regulating the sulfur content in marine fuel. ”
Note that it is high-sulfur Russian oil Urals.
According to EIA monthly data, the volume of crude oil imports from Russia to the United States in November amounted to an average of 472,000 barrels per day, which is the highest value since May 2013. This is two-thirds of imports, compared with one-third in November 2018.
The increase in Russian imports by oil refineries on the Gulf of Mexico is associated, according to S&P Global Platts analysts, both with the sanctions imposed in Venezuela in January 2019 and with the fact that for marine fuel IMO rules provide for a reduction in mute sulfur. Not all refineries are capable of reducing the sulfur content in them and produce high-quality fuel oil when processing heavy grades of oil, and the mentioned refineries are technically equipped for this. They buy cheaper sulfur oil and give out an expensive product.
What keeps Trump from sanctions against Rosneft
S&P Global Platts points out that increasing dependence of the refineries on the Gulf of Mexico on Russian oil may be one of the factors that deter the Trump administration from imposing sanctions against the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft, as it continues to receive Venezuelan oil as a repayment of debt and sell it Chinese and Indian buyers.