Europe has bought $46 billion worth of Russian energy since the Ukraine invasion began

European Union imports of Russian fossil fuels accounted for 44 billion euros ($46.3 billion) from February 24, the day Russia launched its invasion, to April 24. That is more than double the value of Russian energy imported by EU states during the same two months. period last year, CREA principal analyst Lauri Myllyvirta told CNN.

Higher prices, rather than volumes, explained most of that increase.

The European Union accounted for about 70% of Russia’s fossil fuel export earnings globally, which amounted to 63 billion euros ($66.3 billion) in the two-month period.

Energy prices have surged over the past year as nations emerged from lockdowns, boosting demand. The Russian invasion of Ukraine gave a new boost to oil and gas prices. OPEC member countries have also failed to deliver on promised production increases, further reducing supply.

The European Union imported 10% more Russian gas through pipelines in the two-month period and 20% more liquefied natural gas, but Russian oil and coal export volumes to the bloc fell by 20% and 40%. %, respectively.

The findings come as Europe comes under increasing pressure to ban Russian oil imports and accelerate its move away from Russian gas in order to stop enriching the Kremlin and indirectly financing the war in Ukraine.

It also comes as Russian energy company Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in an attempt to pressure European companies to pay in rubles. Russia is trying to prop up its spiral currency.

The Russian economy has been hit sideways by Western sanctions that targeted the country’s central bank and froze around half of the country’s $600 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

“The fact that their coffers are bulging because of the windfall they got from fossil fuel prices is a very perverse outcome,” Myllyvirta told CNN.

Moving away from Russian fossil fuels quickly will be a challenge for the 27-nation bloc, which before the war relied on Russia for roughly 40% of its natural gas imports, as well as 27% of its oil and 46% of its coal imports. Abruptly ending these purchases would have serious side effects on consumers and businesses.

It is particularly challenging for Germany, which has been the largest single buyer of Russian fossil fuels globally since the invasion, with purchases worth €9.1bn, according to CREA.

This chart from CREA shows the top 20 importers of Russian fossil fuels by value in the two months since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  It uses data from Eurostat, ENTSO-G and UN COMTRADE.

Italy was the next biggest buyer, transferring €6.9bn to Russia, followed by China, Holland, Turkey and France.

The European Union has pledged to break its dependence on Russian energy by 2027 and is working on an oil embargo that could be announced next week, but the report shows that the diversification measures announced so far will achieve little in the short term. .

Russian gas customers in Europe can accept Putin's payment terms

“Everything that has been announced around green energy and energy efficiency is impressive, if you look at the potential impact in the coming years,” Myllyvirta said.

“But then, as mentioned, the short-term component, which would do everything possible to limit Russia’s income in the immediate term, has really been missing.”

To reach their conclusions, the CREA researchers tracked maritime deliveries using ship location data (AIS) and pipeline deliveries using data from Eurostat and the European Network of Gas Transportation System Operators.

Several European energy companies are now in talks with Gazprom over their gas contracts. On Thursday, German firm Uniper and Austrian firm OMV said they believed it was possible to comply with Moscow’s new payment mechanism without breaking EU sanctions.

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