U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated on January 20, is preparing to sign documents on the first day to ban the Canadian-U.S. oil pipeline Keystone XL, reports CBC News.
The decision will be a gift to Russia because the U.S. will face an oil and gas shortage in the next few years that Russian companies can capitalize on. Andrei Korneev, head of the Energy Security Center at the Institute of the US and Canada, Russian Academy of Sciences, said this opinion in a commentary to Vedomosti.
The ban will be a continuation of the U.S. policy of Barack Obama, during whose administration Joe Biden served as Vice President. In 2015, the 44th U.S. president agreed with the arguments of environmentalists, but his successor Donald Trump reversed the decision on the fourth day of his presidency and promised to complete the laying of the pipeline.
In 2018, the project became more urgent because of the conflict with Venezuela. The U.S. refused to buy oil from the Latin American republic, causing problems for U.S. refineries (refineries). Technologically, they needed Venezuelan or similar grade of oil, and they could get it in Canada.
Against this background, refineries in the U.S. have reduced production. Averaged data for last month show that they bought an average of 14.332 million barrels of oil per day, which compares with December 1996.
According to Korneev, carbon-free energy plans will not come to fruition quickly, which means the U.S. will need additional oil and gas. It would be possible to get them, for example, in same Venezuela, and Russian companies have every chance to become intermediaries in this operation. “It’s complicated and risky, but generally possible,” the expert admitted.
He sees spot supplies of gas to the American market in winter as an even more realistic option for making money, especially if it is possible to organize year-round tanker traffic along the Northern Sea Route.
Meanwhile, the US has already started increasing imports of heavy grades of oil, including from Russia. In October the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy (the latest data) estimated the purchase of Russian oil at 660,000 barrels. The country ranked second in the world after Canada which supplied almost four million barrels. Next on the list of suppliers are Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, it became known that Biden’s team does not intend to change the policy with regard to the pipeline “Nord Stream-2”. U.S. Secretary of State candidate Anthony Blinken did not rule out that the new administration would apply additional sanctions pressure.