Russia earned over half of energy export income from EU since war: Study

Since Feb. 24, EU has paid Russia around $84.5B for gas, oil, coal.

Russia earned over half of energy export income from EU since war: Study

Russia has earned an estimated €85 billion ($84.5 billion) in revenue from its fossil fuel exports to the EU since the war in Ukraine began, according to a study published Tuesday.

Since late February, the EU has provided Russia with 54% of its €158 billion ($157.3) in fossil fuel revenue, more than double the amount provided by China and around eight times more than by Türkiye.

Despite an 18% reduction in overall exports, the surging prices of fossil fuels have meant that Russia’s revenue is “far above the previous year’s level,” according to the study by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).

However, Russian coal has taken a hit in the wake of the EU and Swiss Russian coal bans that began in August. According to the study, coal exports dropped significantly, and coal mines in the Kemerovo region have closed as Russia has struggled to find alternative buyers.

Meanwhile, Moscow’s crude oil export earnings rebounded this summer, as more buyers stepped up from the EU and around the globe. This year, India, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates began importing Russian crude, after having imported virtually no oil from Russia before the war.

So far, the EU has only decreased crude imports from Russia by 17% since the war began. But once the oil ban goes into effect in December, imports are expected to plummet by around 90%.

Meanwhile, China has overtaken Germany to become the largest purchaser of Russian fossil fuels and is “buying essentially everything that Russia can supply to the Pacific market,” according to CREA.

As Europe tries to wean itself off Russian energy sources, it has started stocking up on coal from South Africa, more oil from the Middle East, and natural gas from Norway.

However, over the last year, gas prices in Europe have increased 13 times. “Gazprom is making as much money selling gas to the EU now, as it did in the first half of 2021, while delivering a fraction of the gas,” according to the study.

It also suggested that high energy prices are the biggest barrier to effective sanctions on Russia. It recommends decoupling prices paid to Russia from global or internal market prices by using price caps, high import tariffs or levying high taxes on shipments.

Oil and gas-related taxes and export tariffs account for more than 40% of Russia’s annual federal budget.

Hüseyin Demir