As you probably remember, one in a series of executive mandates that Joe Biden issued immediately after taking office was to cancel construction on the Keystone XL pipeline. No big deal, right? I mean, who needed that crazy tube? Well, as it turns out…we did. As the country recovers from lockdowns and commercial vehicle traffic begins to grow again towards pre-pandemic levels, the oil and gas industry is back in business with increased demand. But under the new White House policies, supply has not been able to keep pace with demand and this situation inevitably leads to two predictable outcomes. First, gas prices have started to rise steadily and are now at levels not seen in many years. The other consequence is that we had to start importing more oil to keep up with the refineries’ needs. And one of the suppliers most benefiting from this emerging market is Russia. What could possibly go wrong? (energy now)
One year since President Joe Biden rescinded approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, the United States’ thirst for oil is as strong as ever and escalating.
US imports of oil from Saudi Arabia and Russia have increased, and gasoline prices are higher than in the past five years.
“[Keystone XL] It was a missed opportunity to increase North American energy security, lower costs for American consumers and reduce dependence on foreign energy sources that run counter to American interests,” says Frank Macchiarola, vice president of the American Petroleum Institute.
“The Keystone XL pipeline would have provided well-paid union jobs for American workers while providing reliable and affordable energy to American consumers from a close ally of the United States.”
A graph from the US Energy Information Administration tells the tale in simple numbers. This table tracks our import levels for oil and other liquid energy products. Our number one resource by a large margin remains Canada, fortunately. But even with their vast resources, they cannot keep up with the changing levels of demand we have now. Our imports from Saudi Arabia – our largest partner in OPEC – more than doubled between December 2020 and October of 2021. Meanwhile, our imports from Russia more than triple From February 2019 to September 2021
Biden has repeatedly asked Russia and Saudi Arabia to increase production to cut costs. Both of them constantly ignored him.
And in case you’ve forgotten, we’re in the midst of an ongoing food battle with the Russians right now over Ukraine and Joe Biden continues to threaten Russia with “severe harsh sanctions.” Do you really think that Putin is in a mood to increase production and exports to us, cutting his profits in the process, while all that is going on? Biden would like to improve his approval ratings a bit by lowering gas prices again, but I highly doubt Moscow feels like throwing any bones at him right now. And if things in Ukraine end up perfectly pear-shaped, he can cut us off completely.
Less than two years ago, America became the dominant oil and gas producer on the planet, with a large part of the credit for our partnership with Canada. Gas prices fell to their lowest levels in a generation and stayed there. We were a net energy exporter for the first time in our history. Now, after barely a year under the new administration, we are once again going to some of our opponents with our hats in hand and asking for more oil. At the same time, we stick a knife in the back of Canada. Trying to write this off as some sort of coincidence that isn’t the result of Joe Biden’s energy policies is a fool’s errand.