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EU Energy Landscape Shifts: Russian Imports Plummet, Diversification Rises

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After a robust increase in energy imports between 2021 and 2022, the landscape within the European Union significantly shifts in 2023, witnessing a second consecutive quarterly decline compared to the previous year, reveals EU statistics agency Eurostat.

In Q2 2023, compared to the same quarter in 2022, the EU’s imports decreased by 39.4% in value and 11.3% in net mass, following a decrease of 26.5% and 6.1% respectively in the first quarter.

In terms of net mass, Russia’s share in the import of oil and natural gas to the EU has been diminishing since Q2 2022. Oil imports from Russia plunged from a monthly average of 8.7 million tonnes in Q2 2022 to 1.6 million tonnes in the current year’s second quarter (-82%). In contrast, imports from non-EU partners, excluding Russia, escalated by 5.8 million tonnes.

Russia’s total share in the EU’s oil imports was a mere 4% in Q2 2023, a substantial drop from 21.6% recorded in the same quarter last year.

Natural gas imports into the EU markedly decreased (-17% in terms of net mass) in Q2 2023 compared to Q2 2022. This reduction is attributed to the EU nations’ commitment to lowering gas consumption.

The Ukraine conflict prompted the EU to impose several sanction packages on Russia, directly and indirectly affecting oil and gas trade, resulting in increasing diversification of energy suppliers.

Concerning oil, the EU’s prohibition on maritime imports of Russian crude oil came into effect on December 5, 2022, followed by an embargo on refined oil derivatives from February 5, 2023, impacting Q1 and Q2 results in 2023.

In Q2 2022, Russia was the leading supplier of oil, with a 15.9% share of total EU imports. By Q2 2023, Russia ranked 12th, holding just a 2.7% share, a decline of 13.2 percentage points compared to 2022.

Conversely, Norway (+3.5 pp to 13.7%), Kazakhstan (+3.2 pp to 10.2%), the United States (+2.1 pp to 13.6%), and Saudi Arabia (+2.3 pp to 9.0%) saw an increase in market share during the same period, with Libya emerging as a significant partner, contributing to 8.1% of the EU’s oil imports.

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A similar trend was observed with natural gas, where Russia’s share fell by 14.5 pp to 13.8% of total EU imports, while Algeria (+9.3 pp) and Norway (+6.2 pp) experienced significant growth. In Q2 2023, Norway was the largest supplier to the EU, with a 44.3% share, followed by the United Kingdom (17.8%) and Algeria (16.5%).

Regarding liquefied natural gas, the US remained the dominant supplier to the EU in Q2 2023, with a 46.4% share, followed by Russia (12.4%), Qatar (10.9%), Algeria (9.9%), and Nigeria (5.1%). Among these, only Algeria and Nigeria recorded an increase in share (+5.2 pp and +1.0 pp respectively) compared to Q2 2022, while the shares of the US, Russia, and Qatar decreased. Norway and Oman emerged as important suppliers, with shares of 3.3% and 2.9% respectively.

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