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Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has focussed attention on the importance of Russian exports of gas, oil and coal, both to the Russian economy and for the energy security of the countries that import these fuels. UK and EU sanctions on Russian energy are currently limited to coal and oil, with full or partial bans by the end of the year. Neither the UK nor the EU have agreed bans on Russian gas, but have started planning to move away from dependence on it.

Reliance on Russian fossil fuels

In 2021 imports from Russia made up 4% of gas used in the UK, 9% of oil and 27% of coal. In 2021, imports of gas, oil and coal from Russian to the UK were worth a combined £4.5 billion. According to Eurostat, in 2020, imports from Russia made up 39% of the gas used in the EU, 23% of oil imports and 46% of coal imports.

In July 2022, the fifth full month since the invasion, according to UK trade statistics, the UK imported £51 million of coal, but no oil or gas from Russia. This was the fourth month in a row with no Russian gas imports and the second with no Russian oil imports. In June 2022 the UK imported no fossil fuel from Russia for the first time since 2000 (when this data is available back to). Overall energy imports from Russia in the year to July 2022 were £4.2 billion.

The total value of all imports from Russia to the UK in July 2022 was 96% less than in July 2021.

While the UK relies on Russian energy to a lesser extent than many other European countries, it is still exposed to the disruption in energy markets due to the invasion of Ukraine. Gas and oil prices have increased sharply and are likely to remain high as many European countries look to other sources of energy.

This briefing presents the latest monthly data on UK imports of gas, oil and coal from Russia. It also includes data for Europe, although this is less up to date. The Library has published related briefings on:

The International Energy Agency has published detailed information on the oil and gas markets and Russian supply on their Russian supplies to global energy markets pages. Their Reliance on Russian Fossil Fuels Data Explorer gives statistics on how much fossil fuels OECD and EU countries import from Russia. In March 2022 they also published A 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas and A 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use.

movements and pipeline flows of fossil fuels from Russia in its Russian Energy Exports Tracker. On 6 September they published their third report on energy imports from Russia since the invasion. This found that in the first six months the war Russia had exported €158 billion in fossil fuels; €85 billion of which had gone to the EU. These imports were estimated to have contributed €43 billion to Russia’s federal budget. China was the largest single destination (€34.9 billion), followed by Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands. The UK was not in the top 20 largest destination by value.

The value of exports fell in April and June, but these falls were cushioned by higher prices, even with the discounted prices for Russian oil. The value and volume of exports increased slightly in July and August, mainly due to higher oil exports. The global value of imports in July and August were 18% below the February-March average. The largest overall cut in the value of imports over this period was from the Germany, followed by Poland, Italy, the US and Japan. The largest increase imports was to India followed by China, the UAE and Egypt.

The authors said that the 10 August EU coal ban had hit Russian exports as Russia had failed to find other buyers to replace EU demand. They concluded that only a small faction of the upcoming EU ban on Russian oil had been realised and other oil bans, such as those in the US, UK and Australia, needed better enforcement.

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