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Which Countries are Buying Russian Fossil Fuels?

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Bar chart of top importing nations of Russian fossil fuels

The Countries Buying Russian Fossil Fuels Since the Invasion

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A year on from Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine, Russian fossil fuel exports are still flowing to various nations around the world.

According to estimates from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), since the invasion started about a year ago, Russia has made more than $315 billion in revenue from fossil fuel exports around the world, with nearly half ($149 billion) coming from EU nations.

This graphic uses data from the CREA to visualize the countries that have bought the most Russian fossil fuels since the invasion, showcasing the billions in revenue Russia has made from these exports.

Top Importers of Russian Fossil Fuels

As one might expect, China has been the top buyer of Russian fossil fuels since the start of the invasion. Russia’s neighbor and informal ally has primarily imported crude oil, which has made up more than 80% of its imports totaling more than $55 billion since the start of the invasion.

The EU’s largest economy, Germany, is the second-largest importer of Russian fossil fuels, largely due to its natural gas imports worth more than $12 billion alone.

CountryTotal Value of Russian Fossil Fuel Imports*Crude OilNatural GasCoal
🇨🇳 China$66.6B$54.9B$6.1B$5.7B
🇩🇪 Germany$26.1B$13.3B$12.1B$0.7B
🇹🇷 Turkey$25.9B$14.8B$7.5B$3.6B
🇮🇳 India$24.1B$20.8B$0$3.3B
🇳🇱 Netherlands$18.0B$16.2B$0.8B$1.0B
🇮🇹 Italy$14.8B$8.7B$5.6B$0.4B
🇵🇱 Poland$12.1B$8.9B$2.9B$0.3B
🇫🇷 France$9.5B$5.2B$4.2B$0.2B
🇧🇪 Belgium$9.2B$5.5B$3.5B$0.2B
🇭🇺 Hungary$8.6B$2.7B$5.9B$0
🇧🇬 Bulgaria$6.4B$3.9B$2.5B$0
🇸🇰 Slovakia$6.2B$3.1B$3.1B$0
🇯🇵 Japan$6.0B$0.6B$3.7B$1.7B
🇰🇷 South Korea$6.0B$1.8B$0.8B$3.5B
🇪🇸 Spain$5.8B$2.7B$2.9B$0.2B
🇦🇹 Austria$5.7B$0.1B$5.6B$0
🇪🇬 Egypt$5.4B$4.9B$0$0.4B
🇬🇷 Greece$4.5B$4.3B$0.2B$0
🇨🇿 Czechia$4.2B$2.7B$1.5B$0
🇦🇪 UAE$4.1B$4.1B$0$0.1B

*Over the time period of Feb 24, 2022 to Feb 26, 2023 in U.S. dollars

Turkey, a member of NATO but not of the EU, closely follows Germany as the third-largest importer of Russian fossil fuels since the invasion. The country is likely to overtake Germany soon, as not being part of the EU means it isn’t affected by the bloc’s Russian import bans put in place over the last year.

Although more than half of the top 20 fossil fuel importing nations are from the EU, nations from the bloc and the rest of Europe have been curtailing their imports as bans and price caps on Russian coal imports, crude oil seaborne shipments, and petroleum product imports have come into effect.

Russia’s Declining Fossil Fuel Revenues

The EU’s bans and price caps have resulted in a decline of daily fossil fuel revenues from the bloc of nearly 85%, falling from their March 2022 peak of $774 million per day to $119 million as of February 22nd, 2023.

Although India has stepped up its fossil fuel imports in the meantime, from $3 million daily on the day of the invasion to $81 million per day as of February 22nd of this year, this increase doesn’t come close to making up the $655 million hole left by EU nations’ reduction in imports.

Similarly, even if African nations have doubled their Russian fuel imports since December of last year, Russian seaborne oil product exports have still declined by 21% overall since January according to S&P Global.

Other Factors Impacting Revenues

Overall, from their peak on March 24th of around $1.17 billion in daily revenue, Russian fossil fuel revenues have declined by more than 50% to just $560 million daily.

Along with the EU’s reductions in purchases, a key contributing factor has been the decline in Russian crude oil’s price, which has also declined by nearly 50% since the invasion, from $99 a barrel to $50 a barrel today.

Whether these declines will continue is yet to be determined. That said, the EU’s 10th set of sanctions, announced on February 25th, ban the import of bitumen, related materials like asphalt, synthetic rubbers, and carbon blacks and are estimated to reduce overall Russian export revenues by almost $1.4 billion.

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Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium reserves by country, with 3 countries accounting for more than half of total reserves.

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A cropped chart visualizing the distribution of the global uranium reserves, by country.

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

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There can be a tendency to believe that uranium deposits are scarce from the critical role it plays in generating nuclear energy, along with all the costs and consequences related to the field.

But uranium is actually fairly plentiful: it’s more abundant than gold and silver, for example, and about as present as tin in the Earth’s crust.

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium resources by country, as of 2021. Figures come from the World Nuclear Association, last updated on August 2023.

Ranked: Uranium Reserves By Country (2021)

Australia, Kazakhstan, and Canada have the largest shares of available uranium resources—accounting for more than 50% of total global reserves.

But within these three, Australia is the clear standout, with more than 1.7 million tonnes of uranium discovered (28% of the world’s reserves) currently. Its Olympic Dam mine, located about 600 kilometers north of Adelaide, is the the largest single deposit of uranium in the world—and also, interestingly, the fourth largest copper deposit.

Despite this, Australia is only the fourth biggest uranium producer currently, and ranks fifth for all-time uranium production.

CountryShare of Global
Reserves
Uranium Reserves (Tonnes)
🇦🇺 Australia28%1.7M
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan13%815K
🇨🇦 Canada10%589K
🇷🇺 Russia8%481K
🇳🇦 Namibia8%470K
🇿🇦 South Africa5%321K
🇧🇷 Brazil5%311K
🇳🇪 Niger5%277K
🇨🇳 China4%224K
🇲🇳 Mongolia2%145K
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2%131K
🇺🇦 Ukraine2%107K
🌍 Rest of World9%524K
Total100%6M

Figures are rounded.

Outside the top three, Russia and Namibia both have roughly the same amount of uranium reserves: about 8% each, which works out to roughly 470,000 tonnes.

South Africa, Brazil, and Niger all have 5% each of the world’s total deposits as well.

China completes the top 10, with a 3% share of uranium reserves, or about 224,000 tonnes.

A caveat to this is that current data is based on known uranium reserves that are capable of being mined economically. The total amount of the world’s uranium is not known exactly—and new deposits can be found all the time. In fact the world’s known uranium reserves increased by about 25% in the last decade alone, thanks to better technology that improves exploration efforts.

Meanwhile, not all uranium deposits are equal. For example, in the aforementioned Olympic Dam, uranium is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining occurring at the same site. In South Africa, it emerges as a byproduct during treatment of ores in the gold mining process. Orebodies with high concentrations of two substances can increase margins, as costs can be shared for two different products.

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