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Who’s Still Buying Russian Fossil Fuels in 2023?

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Bar chart of countries buying Russian Fossil Fuels in 2023

The Countries Buying Fossil Fuels from Russia in 2023

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While Russia’s revenues from fossil fuel exports have declined significantly since their peak in March of 2022, many countries are still importing millions of dollars a day worth of fossil fuels from Russia.

Revenue from fossil fuels exported to the EU has declined more than 90% from their peak, but in 2023 the bloc has still imported more than $18 billion of crude oil and natural gas so far.

This graphic uses data from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) to visualize the top-importing countries of fossil fuels from Russia so far this year.

China Remains Russia’s Top Fossil Fuel Importer

China continues to be Russia’s top buyer of fossil fuels, with imports reaching $30 billion in 2023 up until June 16, 2023.

With nearly 80% of China’s fuel imports being crude oil, Russia’s average daily revenues from Chinese fossil fuel imports have declined from $210 million in 2022 to $178 million in 2023 largely due to the falling price of Russian crude oil.

Following China are EU nations collectively, which despite no longer importing coal from Russia since August of 2022, still imported $18.4 billion of fossil fuels in a 60/40 split of crude oil and natural gas respectively.

CountryRussian Fossil Fuel Imports* (Total)Crude OilNatural GasCoal
🇨🇳 China$30B$23.9B$2.7B$3.3B
🇪🇺 EU$18.4B$11.2B$7.2B$0
🇮🇳 India$15.2B$12.8B$0$2.5B
🇹🇷 Türkiye$12.1B$7.3B$3B$1.7B
🇦🇪 UAE$2.3B$2.3B$0$0
🇰🇷 South Korea$2.1B$0.6B$0.3B$1.2B
🇸🇰 Slovakia$2.0B$1.1B$0.9B$0
🇭🇺 Hungary$1.9B$0.8B$1.1B$0
🇧🇪 Belgium$1.9B$0.5B$1.4B$0
🇯🇵 Japan$1.8B$0$1.5B$0.3B
🇪🇸 Spain$1.7B$0.6B$1.1B$0
🇸🇬 Singapore$1.7B$1.7B$0$0
🇧🇷 Brazil$1.6B$1.4B$0$0.2B
🇳🇱 Netherlands$1.6B$1.5B$0.1B$0
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia$1.5B$1.4B$0$0
🇪🇬 Egypt$1.4B$1.3B$0$0.2B
🇧🇬 Bulgaria$1.3B$1.1B$0.3B$0
🇮🇹 Italy$1.2B$0.8B$0.4B$0
🇲🇾 Malaysia$1.1B$1.0B$0$0.1B
🇨🇿 Czech Republic$1.0B$1.1B$0$0

*Over the time period of Jan 1, 2023 to June 16, 2023 in U.S. dollars

After China and the EU bloc, India is the next-largest importer of Russian fossil fuels, having ramped up the amount of fossil fuels imported by more than 10x since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, largely due to discounted Russian oil.

Türkiye is the only other nation to have imported more than $10 billion worth of Russian fossil fuels in 2023, with every other country having imported fewer than $3 billion worth of fuels from Russia this year.

Navigating the Crude Reality of Oil Exports

Although crude oil is Russia’s chief fossil fuel export, the nation’s Urals crude traded at a $20 per barrel discount to Brent crude throughout most of 2023. While this discount has narrowed to around $16 following Russia’s announcement of further oil export cuts of 500,000 bpd (barrels per day), the price of Urals crude oil remains just 40 cents below the $60 price cap put in place by G7 and EU nations.

Alongside Russia, Saudi Arabia also announced it would extend its cut of 1 million bpd until the end of August, with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman commenting on the country’s solidarity with Russia and saying it would do “whatever is necessary” to support the oil market.

While OPEC and OPEC+ nations’ cuts are an attempt at pushing crude oil prices up, increased production from the U.S. has counteracted this. The EIA forecasts 2023 U.S. production to be 12.6 million bpd, surpassing the high in 2019 of 12.3 million bpd.

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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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