EU, second-biggest oil importer globally, is largest buyer of Russian oil, importing €5.8 billion as war enters fourth week
The European Union’s (EU) natural gas, oil and coal imports from Russia since the beginning of the war in Ukraine have hit approximately €17 billion ($18.7 billion), according to data collated by Anadolu Agency on Monday from live tracker published by Europe Beyond Coal with Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) analysis.
The cost of natural gas imports via Ukraine, along with liquefied natural gas (LNG), has reached €10.6 billion since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Data from Russian gas company Gazprom shows that gas flows to the EU via Ukraine stood at 62 million cubic meters on Feb. 23, reached 110 million cubic meters on Feb. 25, and 109 million cubic meters on Feb. 26.
The data reveals that the level of gas flow transmission has been in the range of 100-110 million cubic meters since the beginning of the war.
Sergey Kupriyanov, the spokesman of Gazprom, confirmed last week that gas flow of around 105 million cubic meters to the EU via Ukraine is progressing at “routine levels”.
Despite harsh economic sanctions against Russia by the US,UK and the EU, the EU has so far excluded the energy sector from sanctions due to its significant dependence on Russian imports. Nonetheless, the US banned the import of Russian oil, LNG and coal, while the UK agreed to phase out oil imports from Russia by the end of the year.
The EU’s new energy strategy, REPowerEU, aims to reduce the EU’s gas imports from Russia by nearly two-thirds by the end of 2022 and to make Europe independent from all Russian fossil fuels well before 2030.
According to the International Energy Agency, the EU imported an average of over 380 million cubic meters per day of gas by pipeline from Russia in 2021, equivalent to around 140 billion cubic meters annually, along with around 15 billion cubic meters of LNG.
The 155 billion cubic meters of gas imported from Russia accounted for around 45% of the EU’s imports in 2021 and almost 40% of its total gas consumption.
EU largest buyer of Russian oil
The EU’s oil imports neared €5.8 billion while coal amounted to €436 million since the war started, the live tracker showed.
Russia is the world’s largest oil exporter supplying approximately 8% of global demand. The EU is the world’s second-largest importer and the largest buyer of Russian oil, according to Bruegel, a Brussels-based think-tank.
In a recent analysis, Bruegel conveyed that Russia’s oil infrastructure was built to serve eastern European markets, namely via the Druzhba oil pipeline that directly feeds six refineries in the EU.
Russia has a 70% share in the EU’s imports of thermal coal, while Germany and Poland are particularly reliant on thermal coal from Russia.
“While stopping Russian gas imports would be difficult and costly, but feasible, it will likely be less painful for the EU to manage a complete interruption of Russian oil and coal imports. Oil and coal are more global and liquid markets than gas, and rely less on rigid infrastructure like Europe’s gas import pipelines,” Bruegel said in the analysis.
The think-tank warned that although a European halt to Russian oil and coal supplies would have substantial global second-round effects in higher prices, nonetheless, it said Europe would be able to attract more crude oil, oil products, and coal being a wealthy continent compared to emerging and developing economies, which would find it increasingly difficult.