The infographic above tracks Russia’s largest importers of fossil fuel exports during the first 100 days of the war based on data from the Center for Energy and Clean Air Research (CREA) .
In demand: Russia’s black gold
The global energy market has experienced several cyclical shocks in recent years.
The gradual decline in upstream oil and gas investment, followed by pandemic-induced production cuts, led to lower supply, while people consumed more energy as economies reopened and winters grew colder. were cooling. Consequently, the demand for fossil fuels was increasing even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which exacerbated the market shock.
Russia is the third largest producer and second largest exporter of crude oil. In the 100 days since the invasion, oil was by far Russia’s most valuable fossil fuel export, accounting for $48 billion about half of total export earnings.
While Russian crude oil is shipped by tankers, a network of pipelines transports Russian gas to Europe. In fact, Russia represents 41% imports of all-natural gas to the EU, and some countries depend almost exclusively on Russian gas. Of the $25 billion exported by gas pipeline, 85% went to the EU.
The main importers of Russian fossil fuels
The EU bloc represented 61% of Russia’s fossil fuel export earnings over the 100-day period.
Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, members of both the EU and NATO, were among the biggest importers, with only China surpassing them.
China has overtaken Germany as the top importer, importing almost 2 million barrels of Russian oil at a daily discount in May — up 55% compared to a year ago. Similarly, Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier.
The largest increase in imports came from India, buying 18% of all Russian oil exports during the 100-day period. A significant amount of the oil that goes to India is re-exported in the form of refined products to the United States and Europe, which are trying to become independent of Russian imports.
Reduce dependence on Russia
In response to Ukraine’s invasion, several countries have taken tough action against Russia with sanctions on exports, including fossil fuels.
The United States and Sweden have banned Russian fossil fuel imports entirely, with monthly import volumes falling 100% and 99% in May relative to the start of the invasion, respectively.
Globally, monthly volumes of fossil fuel imports from Russia fell 15% in May, a sign of negative political sentiment surrounding the country.
It should also be noted that several European countries, including some of the largest importers over the 100-day period, cut Russian fossil fuels. Apart from the EU’s collective decision to reduce its dependence on Russia, some countries have also refused the country’s ruble payment system, leading to lower imports.
The reduction in imports is expected to continue. The EU recently adopted a sixth set of sanctions against Russia, completely banning all Russian petroleum products transported by sea. The ban, which covers 90% of EU oil imports from Russia, will likely realize its full impact after a period of six to eight months allowing the fulfillment of existing contracts.
While the EU is phasing out Russian oil, several European countries are heavily dependent on Russian gas. A full-fledged boycott of fossil fuels from Russia would also harm Europe’s economy. Therefore, the phase-out is likely to be gradual and subject to changes in the geopolitical environment.
(This article first appeared in Visual Capitalist Elements)