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The Russian 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, especially in Europe. Sanctions on Russian energy have so far been limited, but the UK and EU have started planning to move away from Russian fossil fuels.

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 March 2022, the first full month since the invasion, the quantity of oil, gas and coal imported from Russia all fell substantially compared to March 2021. However, much higher fossil fuel prices meant that the value of these imports all increased and were 20% higher in total than in March 2021. Overall energy imports from Russia in the year to March 2022 were £5.3 billion

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.

The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air tracks detailed ship movements and pipeline flows of fossil fuels from Russia in its Russian Energy Exports Tracker. On 27 April they published a report on energy imports from Russia in the two months since the invasion. This found that Russia had exported €63 billion in fossil fuels; €44 billion of which had gone to the EU. Germany was the largest single destination (€9.1 billion), followed by Italy, China and the Netherlands. The UK was not one of the top 20 destinations. The volume of oil and coal exported to the EU fell between January/February and April, but gas volumes increased. Higher prices have increased the value of exports. This report was also covered in the FT and The Guardian.

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