According to data from maritime sector brokerage firm Banchero Costa, last year saw the EU import 98.8 million tonnes of Russian crude via sea. This makes Russia the EU’s largest provider of crude oil, despite heavy sanctions imposed by the bloc.
The nearly 99 million tonnes accounted for 21% of the EU’s imports, a number that while in top position, did fall year over year by around 12%.
The EU support helped see total Russian oil exports grow 10.3% year over year, undoubtedly led by India, whose government is purchasing 33 times more oil from Russia than they were before the war began.
The data flies in the face of praise the EU has received by Washington think tanks and Russia hawks for finally standing up to their sometimes-unfriendly eastern neighbor, and begs questions over how much credit they really deserve.
Much was said about Europe facing a massive energy crisis in the face of their sanctioning of Russia, indeed WaL reported as much in September, however according to the European Council’s website, the ban on imports of crude and natural gas only just kicked in—crude in December 2022, and natural gas in January 2023. Evidently the bloc wanted to make sure its citizens would not be troubled over winter.
It remains to be seen whether or not the sanctions on Europe will hurt Russia in the long term. Halfway through January, the first month of both a G7 price cap on Russian oil of $60 per barrel, and the EU import ban, Russian oil exports have risen 1.2%.
Oil passed the $80 per barrel mark worldwide today, with a great many buyers seemingly interested in snapping up the discounted Urals crude oil, especially as oil prices have for some months been predicted to rise back above $100 per barrel in the coming months. WaL