Visualizing the EU's Energy Dependency
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Visualizing the EU’s Energy Dependency

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EU Energy Dependency

Visualizing the EU’s Energy Dependency

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

In response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and EU have imposed heavy sanctions aimed at crippling the Russian economy. However, these bold actions also come with some potentially messy complications: Russia is not only one of the world’s largest exporters of energy products, but it is also Europe’s biggest supplier of these fuels.

As of October 2021, Russia supplied 25% of all oil imported by the EU, which is three times more than the second-largest trade partner. Naturally, the policies and circumstances that have led to this dependency have been under major scrutiny in recent weeks.

To help you learn more, this infographic visualizes energy data from Eurostat.

Energy Dependency, by Country

To start, let’s compare the energy dependence of each EU member, both in 2000 and 2020 (the latest year available). This metric shows the extent to which a country relies upon imports to meet its energy needs.

Note that Denmark’s value of -35.9% for the year 2000 is not a typo. Rather, it means that the country was a net exporter of energy.

Country20002020
🇦🇹 Austria65.5%58.3%
🇧🇪 Belgium78.2%78.0%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria46.4%37.9%
🇭🇷 Croatia48.5%53.6%
🇨🇾 Cyprus98.6%93.1%
🇨🇿 Czechia22.7%38.9%
🇩🇰 Denmark-35.9%44.9%
🇪🇪 Estonia34.0%10.6%
🇫🇮 Finland55.5%42.0%
🇫🇷 France51.2%44.5%
🇩🇪 Germany59.4%63.7%
🇬🇷 Greece69.1%81.4%
🇭🇺 Hungary55.0%56.6%
🇮🇪 Ireland85.4%71.3%
🇮🇹 Italy86.5%73.5%
🇱🇻 Latvia61.0%45.5%
🇱🇹 Lithuania57.8%74.9%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg99.6%92.5%
🇲🇹 Malta100.2%97.6%
🇳🇱 Netherlands38.3%68.1%
🇵🇱 Poland10.7%42.8%
🇵🇹 Portugal85.3%65.3%
🇷🇴 Romania21.9%28.2%
🇸🇰 Slovakia65.1%56.3%
🇸🇮 Slovenia51.9%45.8%
🇪🇸 Spain76.8%67.9%
🇸🇪 Sweden39.3%33.5%
Average56.3%57.5%

Over this 20-year timeframe, the EU-27 average country’s energy dependence has increased from 56.3% to 57.5%, meaning EU members became slightly more reliant on energy imports over those two decades.

Where Do EU’s Energy Imports Come From?

Looking further into energy imports reveals that Russia is the main supplier of crude oil, coal, and natural gas. Continue below for more details.

Crude Oil Imports

The EU imports more crude oil from Russia than the next three countries combined.

CountryPercentage of total
🇷🇺 Russia26.9%
🇮🇶 Iraq9.0%
🇳🇬 Nigeria7.9%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia7.7%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan7.3%
🇳🇴 Norway7.0%
🇱🇾 Libya6.2%
🇺🇸 United States5.3%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom4.9%
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan4.5%
🇩🇿 Algeria2.4%
Others10.9%

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Russia was the world’s third largest producer of oil in 2020. The country has several state-owned oil companies including Rosneft and Gazprom.

Coal Imports

Coal-fired power plants are still being used across the EU, though most member states expect to completely phase them out by 2030.

CountryPercentage of total
🇷🇺 Russia46.7%
🇺🇸 United States17.7%
🇦🇺 Australia13.7%
🇨🇴 Colombia8.2%
🇿🇦 South Africa2.8%
Others10.9%

Russia has the second largest coal reserves in the world. In 2020, it mined 328 million metric tons, making it the sixth largest producer globally.

Natural Gas Imports

Natural gas is commonly used to heat buildings and water. A majority of the EU’s supply comes from Russia via the Nord Stream series of pipelines.

CountryPercentage of total
🇷🇺 Russia41.1%
🇳🇴 Norway16.2%
🇩🇿 Algeria7.6%
🇶🇦 Qatar5.2%
Others29.9%

Nord Stream 1 is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world and was completed in 2011. It starts from the Russian city of Vyborg and connects to the EU through Germany.

Nord Stream 2 is a recently constructed expansion which was expected to double the project’s capacity. Germany has since halted the approval process for this pipeline in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

What Happens Now?

In retaliation against Western sanctions, Russia has announced an impending ban on exports of certain goods and raw materials.

European gas prices skyrocketed in response, as many fear that Russia could cut off natural gas supplies. This, of course, would have very negative effects on both consumers and businesses.

In early March 2022, both the European Commission and the International Energy Agency (IEA) introduced proposals on how Europe could reduce its energy dependency.

We must become independent from Russian oil, coal and gas. We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.
– Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Cutting off one’s biggest supplier is likely to cause issues, especially when dealing with something as critical as energy. Few countries have the capacity (or willingness) to immediately replace Russian imports.

The proposals also discussed options for boosting Europe’s domestic output, though the commission’s report notably excluded nuclear power. For various reasons, nuclear remains a polarizing topic in Europe, with countries taking either a pro or anti stance.

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Energy

Visualizing the Scale of Global Fossil Fuel Production

How much oil, coal, and natural gas do we extract each year? See the scale of annual fossil fuel production in perspective.

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The Scale of Global Fossil Fuel Production

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

Fossil fuels have been our predominant source of energy for over a century, and the world still extracts and consumes a colossal amount of coal, oil, and gas every year.

This infographic visualizes the volume of global fossil fuel production in 2021 using data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

The Facts on Fossil Fuels

In 2021, the world produced around 8 billion tonnes of coal, 4 billion tonnes of oil, and over 4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

Most of the coal is used to generate electricity for our homes and offices and has a key role in steel production. Similarly, natural gas is a large source of electricity and heat for industries and buildings. Oil is primarily used by the transportation sector, in addition to petrochemical manufacturing, heating, and other end uses.

Here’s a full breakdown of coal, oil, and gas production by country in 2021.

Coal Production

If all the coal produced in 2021 were arranged in a cube, it would measure 2,141 meters (2.1km) on each side—more than 2.5 times the height of the world’s tallest building.

China produced 50% or more than four billion tonnes of the world’s coal in 2021. It’s also the largest consumer of coal, accounting for 54% of coal consumption in 2021.

Rank Country2021 Coal Production
(million tonnes)
% of Total
#1🇨🇳 China 4,126.050%
#2🇮🇳 India 811.310%
#3🇮🇩 Indonesia 614.08%
#4🇺🇸 U.S. 524.46%
#5🇦🇺 Australia 478.66%
#6🇷🇺 Russia 433.75%
#7🇿🇦 South Africa 234.53%
#8🇩🇪 Germany 126.02%
#9🇰🇿 Kazakhstan 115.71%
#10🇵🇱 Poland 107.61%
🌍 Other 600.97%
Total8,172.6100%

India is both the second largest producer and consumer of coal. Meanwhile, Indonesia is the world’s largest coal exporter, followed by Australia.

In the West, U.S. coal production was down 47% as compared to 2011 levels, and the descent is likely to continue with the clean energy transition.

Oil Production

In 2021, the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia were the three largest crude oil producers, respectively.

Rank Country2021 Oil Production
(million tonnes)
% of Total
#1🇺🇸 U.S. 711.117%
#2🇷🇺 Russia 536.413%
#3🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia 515.012%
#4🇨🇦 Canada 267.16%
#5🇮🇶 Iraq 200.85%
#6🇨🇳 China 198.95%
#7🇮🇷 Iran 167.74%
#8🇦🇪 UAE 164.44%
#9 🇧🇷 Brazil156.84%
#10🇰🇼 Kuwait 131.13%
🌍 Other 1172.028%
Total4221.4100%

OPEC countries, including Saudi Arabia, made up the largest share of production at 35% or 1.5 billion tonnes of oil.

U.S. oil production has seen significant growth since 2010. In 2021, the U.S. extracted 711 million tonnes of oil, more than double the 333 million tonnes produced in 2010.

Natural Gas Production

The world produced 4,036 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2021. The above graphic converts that into an equivalent of seven billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to visualize it on the same scale as oil and gas.

Here are the top 10 producers of natural gas in 2021:

Rank Country2021 Natural Gas Production
(billion m3)
% of Total
#1🇺🇸 U.S. 934.223%
#2🇷🇺 Russia 701.717%
#3🇮🇷 Iran 256.76%
#4🇨🇳 China 209.25%
#5🇶🇦 Qatar 177.04%
#6🇨🇦 Canada 172.34%
#7🇦🇺 Australia 147.24%
#8🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia 117.33%
#9🇳🇴 Norway 114.33%
#10🇩🇿 Algeria 100.82%
🌍 Other 1106.327%
Total4,036.9100%

The U.S. was the largest producer, with Texas and Pennsylvania accounting for 47% of its gas production. The U.S. electric power and industrial sectors account for around one-third of domestic natural gas consumption.

Russia, the next-largest producer, was the biggest exporter of gas in 2021. It exported an estimated 210 billion cubic meters of natural gas via pipelines to Europe and China. Around 80% of Russian natural gas comes from operations in the Arctic region.

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