Earlier in March, President Biden banned US imports of crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, coal, and coal products that originate in Russia (OGJ Online, Mar. 8, 2022). The President’s executive order, however, does not restrict US energy imports originating in other countries that transit through Russia or depart from Russia’s ports, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted.
Crude oil exported from countries including Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan moves through Russia’s energy export infrastructure. Crude oil from Russia can be imported into the US, provided it is marketed and loaded with a certificate of origin verifying that the crude oil is of non-Russian origin.
Crude oil exported from Kazakhstan moves primarily through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) system. The CPC travels around the north side of the Caspian Sea and through Russia, transporting crude oil produced in Kazakhstan to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. Some crude oil produced in Russia is transported in the same pipeline as CPC grade crude oil, but it represents around 10% of the crude oil exported through the CPC system.
Crude oil is also exported from Kazakhstan through Russia’s Transneft pipeline system to Novorossiysk and the Russian Baltic Sea port of Ust Luga, as well as through the Kazakhstan-China Pipeline to China. Most exports originating in Kazakhstan travel by pipelines through Russia or are shipped out of Russia’s ports.
Exports of crude oil from Azerbaijan are largely transported through the Turkish port of Ceyhan through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, which does not pass through Russia. However, small amounts of crude oil are exported from Azerbaijan through Russia. Significant volumes of crude oil are not exported from Turkmenistan, but it can travel west to Ceyhan through the BTC pipeline or travel north to Novorossiysk from the Russian Caspian port of Makhachkala through the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline. In 2021, 25,000 b/d was exported from Azerbaijan, and 43,000 b/d was exported from Turkmenistan through Russia, according to data from Argus Media.
In 2021, most exports of crude oil from Kazakhstan went to Europe, but some were received in the US. Ports on the US East Coast received 18,000 b/d of light, sour crude oil imports from Kazakhstan—an amount representing less than 0.3% of US crude oil imports that year. Crude oil from Azerbaijan has not been imported into the US since 2018, and crude oil from Turkmenistan has never been imported into the US.