Ukraine War News March 3: Russian Forces Continue Missile Strikes, US Unveils New Sanctions Against Oligarchs

The biggest US buyers of Russian oil are ExxonMobil © Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

Democrats in Congress are urging US oil refineries to stop importing oil from Russia in a bid to increase pressure on the Kremlin a week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Bobby Rush, the Democratic chairman of the House energy subcommittee, and Jerry McNerney, another Democrat on the subcommittee, wrote to the refiners industry group asking its members to stop buying crude oil Russian and partially refined products.

In the letter to US fuel and petrochemical manufacturers, seen by the Financial Times, the two lawmakers wrote: “Because any purchase of Russian barrels would now fund its war with Ukraine, continuing this activity has become impermissible.

Separately, Jack Reed, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tweeted Wednesday: “Russian oil imports must be stopped. Our domestic supply is sufficient.

The United States imported about 209,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Russia last year, or about 3% of total imports, according to AFPM. But it also imported an additional 500,000 barrels a day of other petroleum products, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all unfinished oil imported by U.S. refineries, according to Rapidan Energy Group, a consultancy.

The most recent figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that the biggest buyers of Russian oil in the country are ExxonMobil.

Joe Biden, the American president, has said he is ready to impose an oil embargo on Russia. But while its officials debate the wisdom of doing so, many oil buyers are already cutting off sourcing from Russia.

Valero Energy, a Texas-based refining company that imports heavily from Russia, reportedly suspended all future purchases of Russian oil. Russian Urals crude is now trading at a record discount of more than $18 a barrel as the country’s producers struggle to find buyers.