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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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Visualized: Renewable Energy Capacity Through Time (2000–2023)

This streamgraph shows the growth in renewable energy capacity by country and region since 2000.

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The preview image for a streamgraph showing the change in renewable energy capacity over time by country and region.

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The following content is sponsored by National Public Utilities Council

Visualized: Renewable Energy Capacity Through Time (2000–2023)

Global renewable energy capacity has grown by 415% since 2000, or at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4%.

However, many large and wealthy regions, including the United States and Europe, maintain lower average annual renewable capacity growth.

This chart, created in partnership with the National Public Utilities Council, shows how each world region has contributed to the growth in renewable energy capacity since 2000, using the latest data release from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Renewable Energy Trends in Developed Economies

Between 2000 and 2023, global renewable capacity increased from 0.8 to 3.9 TW. This was led by China, which added 1.4 TW, more than Africa, Europe, and North America combined. Renewable energy here includes solar, wind, hydro (excluding pumped storage), bioenergy, geothermal, and marine energy.

During this period, capacity growth in the U.S. has been slightly faster than what’s been seen in Europe, but much slower than in China. However, U.S. renewable growth is expected to accelerate due to the recent implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Overall, Asia has shown the greatest regional growth, with China being the standout country in the continent.

Region2000–2023 Growth10-Year Growth (2013–2023)1-Year Growth (2022–2023)
Europe313%88%10%
China1,817%304%26%
United States322%126%9%
Canada57%25%2%

It’s worth noting that Canada has fared significantly worse than the rest of the developed world since 2000 when it comes to renewable capacity additions. Between 2000 and 2023, the country’s renewable capacity grew only by 57%.  

Trends in Developing Economies

Africa’s renewable capacity has grown by 184% since 2000 with a CAGR of 4%. 

India is now the most populous country on the planet, and its renewable capacity is also rapidly growing. From 2000–2023, it grew by 604%, or a CAGR of 8%.

It is worth remembering that energy capacity is not always equivalent to power generation. This is especially the case for intermittent sources of energy, such as solar and wind, which depend on natural phenomena.

Despite the widespread growth of renewable energy worldwide, IRENA emphasizes that global renewable generation capacity must triple from its 2023 levels by 2030 to meet the ambitious targets set by the Paris Agreement.

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