The EU’s imports of Russian oil and gas continued to decline sharply in the second quarter of this year, according to new data released by the EU statistical office Eurostat.
These figures suggest that EU sanctions on energy trade in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine are having a tangible impact.
The EU’s Russian oil imports fell 82%, from a monthly average of 8.7 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2022, to 1.6 million tonnes during the same period this year.
This brings Russia’s share of the EU’s monthly oil imports to 4%, up from 21.6% in the same quarter last year.
During the same period, the EU halved its natural gas imports, from a monthly average of 5.1 million tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes.
Since the start of the Russian invasion, the bloc has put in place plans to diversify its energy mix by investing in renewable energy and entering into supply agreements with other countries. It has provided 300 billion euros in funds to support member states.
But while certain energy products, notably coal and oil, have been sanctioned, gas has never been subject to formal restrictions given the heavy dependence of some EU member states on imports via pipelines. .
Despite its success in reducing pipeline imports, a recent Global Witness report revealed that the EU has increased its dependence on Russian gas in a liquefied state.
Russian imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the first seven months of this year increased by 39.5% compared to the same period of 2021, before the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Belgium, France and Spain among the top five Russian countries in the world. customers for LNG.
The EU executive insists that LNG represents only a small proportion of the EU’s overall energy mix.
But Eurostat data confirms that Russia remains the EU’s second largest trading partner for LNG, with 12.4% of the bloc’s share, behind the United States with 46.4%.
New global suppliers
To reduce its dependence on Russian energy, the bloc has struck new trade deals with other oil and gas-rich countries.
Russia is now the twelfth largest oil importer in the EU, along with Norway (13.7%), the United States (13.6%), Kazakhstan (10.2%) and Saudi Arabia (9 %) as the bloc’s main importers.
Libya has also increased its share to become an important partner, accounting for 8.1% of oil imports.
In terms of natural gas, imports from Algeria jumped 9.3% in the second quarter of 2023 compared to 2022. Imports from Norway also increased by 6.2% to make it the top gas supplier natural EU with 44.3% of the total share.
The EU’s choice of energy trading partners came under renewed scrutiny last week after Azerbaijan launched what it called an “anti-terrorist operation” in the breakaway Upper region. -Karabakh.
THE attacks were condemned by the EU’s top diplomat.
But the bloc recently signed a new deal to double European gas imports from Azerbaijan by 2027, with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen calling Baku a “trustworthy” partner.
However, today’s data reveals that pipeline gas imports from Azerbaijan fell from 6.6% of the total share in the second quarter of 2022 to 6.0% in the same period of this year. year, despite the commitment to intensify the partnership.