Since the beginning of 2022, the import of crude oil into the EU has undergone significant changes. Until the end of January 2022, before the war broke out, imports from various origins remained relatively stable, with Russia being the primary source of crude oil imports.
From the last quarter of 2021 to January 2022, imports from Russia ranged from 39657 thousand barrels to 49698 thousand barrels, accounting for 24 % to 31 % of total imports. The United States was the EU’s second-largest supplier of crude oil, providing between 19115 thousand barrels and 20751 thousand barrels, representing 10 % to 13 % of total crude oil imports. Norway and Kazakhstan also supplied similar amounts of crude oil, ranging from 8 % to 14 % of total imports, while imports from Iraq were slightly lower, ranging between 7 % to 12 %. Imports from Libya and the United Kingdom accounted for around 5 % of total imports.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 had a significant impact on the import of crude oil into the EU. The situation was very unstable from February to April, with large imports from Russia in February and April (63859 thousand barrels and 58976 thousand barrels, respectively, representing 33 % and 30 % of total imports) and low imports in March (31820 thousand barrels, representing 18 % of total imports).
In May 2022, imports from Russia decreased to 24162 thousand barrels (12 % of total imports) and remained relatively stable until September 2022. From September onwards, imports decreased gradually, reaching 7645 thousand barrels (4 % of total imports) in December 2022 (the sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia, adopted by the Council in June, consisted of the import ban of Russian seaborne crude oil as of December 5, 2022).
The decline in imports from Russia was compensated by a rise in imports from other sources. In December 2022, the biggest suppliers of crude oil were the United States, with 34483 thousand barrels (18 % of total imports), +6 percentage points (pp) compared with the last quarter of 2021, and Norway, with 32899 thousand barrels (17 % of total imports), up 7 pp.
Imports from Libya and the United Kingdom were up by a few percentage points (+2 pp and +4 pp, respectively). Imports from Kazakhstan and Iraq remained at similar levels or increased marginally compared with the last quarter before the war.
There are two elements that define crude oil prices: the spot market and the type of crude oil. Before the Russian aggression on Ukraine, the price was stable at around USD 80 per barrel, with little variation between the crude oil types (less than USD 4 US dollars per barrel). However, the unstable geopolitical situation caused high volatility in the market, and from February 2022, crude oil prices started to rise significantly.
For more information:
- Thematic section on energy
- Database on energy
- Interactive publication: Shedding light on energy in the EU
- Interactive visualisations on energy
- Statistics 4 beginners on energy
- Statistics Explained articles on energy
- The five biggest crude oil types are selected by the volume of imports in 2022.
- Oil types have been grouped per origin country in the first visual