The EU has agreed to ban most imports of Russian crude and oil products, in the latest round of sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The ban on imports of seaborne crude oil will be implemented in phases over a period of six months, and as for refined products transported by sea, the ban is over an eight-month period. The sanctions exclude deliveries via pipelines that supply refineries in eastern Europe and eastern Germany.
However, Germany and Poland have said that they will voluntarily stop buying crude oil through pipelines by the end of 2022. This means that, in total, about 90 percent of Russian oil imports to the bloc will be stopped, according to Reuters.
Already, many European buyers have voluntarily suspended purchases of Russian oil or announced plans to phase it out.
How much Russian oil does the EU import?
Europe was the destination for nearly half of Russia’s exports of crude and oil products before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The EU imported 2.2 million barrels per day of crude in 2021, including 0.7 million barrels per day via a pipeline.
The bloc also imported 1.2 million barrels per day of refined oil products from Russia, including 0.5 million barrels per day of diesel.
EU countries import most of the oil from Russia
The IEA said Germany, Poland and the Netherlands were the largest purchasers of Russian crude oil from the EU in 2021.
Germany and Poland lie on the northern branch of the Druzhba pipeline, the main transit route for Russian oil exports to Europe.
The Netherlands, the fuel trading hub in Europe, was the EU’s largest importer of refined products from Russia.
Countries most dependent on Russian oil
EU countries that are geographically close to Russia, or landlocked countries with limited alternatives, are highly dependent on Russian oil imports.
The EU’s dependence on Russian fuel was backed by Russian companies, such as “Rosneft” and “Lukoil”, which control refineries in some of them.
Countries located on the southern route of the Druzhba pipeline, which crosses Ukraine, depend in particular on Russian crude. Russian oil accounted for more than 90 percent of Slovakia’s crude oil imports in 2021.
For countries that import by sea, Russian oil accounted for more than 80 percent of imports in Finland and Lithuania. But the two countries said they had stopped buying crude oil from Russia.
In addition, informed sources said that the EU is seeking to coordinate with the Group of 7 major industrial countries to impose a ban on providing insurance services required for shipping Russian crude oil to anywhere in the world.