Revealed: Russia pockets £53bn in oil and gas cash since start of Ukraine war with £7.6bn from Germany
It has been revealed that Germany was the biggest buyer of Russian energy during the first two months of the war in Ukraine
A study published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) calculated that Russia has earned £53bn from fossil fuel exports since February 24, the date Russian troops attacked Ukraine.
Using data on ship movements, real-time tracking of gas flows through pipelines and estimates based on historical monthly trade, the researchers reckoned Germany alone paid Russia about £7.6bn for fossil fuel deliveries — mostly natural gas — in the first two months of the war.
Claudia Kemfert, a senior energy expert at the German Institute for Economic Research who was not involved in the study, said the figures are plausible given the recent sharp rise in fossil fuel prices.
Last year, Germany paid a total of about £84bn for imports of oil, coal and gas — a quarter of which went to Russia, she said.
German government remains silent
The German government said it cannot comment on estimates and declined to provide any figures of its own, saying they would need to come from companies procuring the energy supplies.
Germany has faced strong criticism for its reliance on Russian fossil fuels despite warnings from allies it could endanger its own and European security.
Then-chancellor Angela Merkel last year pushed back against US efforts to halt a Russian gas pipeline to Germany, a decision strongly backed by her successor, Olaf Scholz, whose Social Democratic Party has long advocated energy co-operation with Russia.
The pipeline was only frozen by Mr Scholz’s new centre-left government shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It has since scrambled to find alternative energy supplies, particularly for Russian natural gas, which now accounts for 35% of Germany’s total imports.
Ms Kemfert said a recent pledge by the German government to produce electricity only from renewable sources by 2035 is welcome.
“As long as Germany continues to buy fossil fuels, whether from Russia or other autocracies, it undermines both its own credibility and its energy security.”Claudia Kemfert,
The CREA, based in Finland and funded through grants and research contracts, said the second biggest importer of Russia fossil fuels in the two months since the outbreak of war was Italy £5.8bn, followed by China £5.6bn.
South Korea, Japan, India and the US also purchased Russian energy after the start of the war, though significantly less than the European Union.
As a whole, the 27-nation bloc accounted for 71% of Russia’s total income from oil, gas and coal, worth approximately £37bn, the CREA report said.
Lauri Myllyvirta, the group’s lead analyst, said year-on-year comparisons are difficult but estimated that Russia’s exports to Europe in the same period of 2021 were worth £15.1bn.
“So 44 billion euros (…) represents a doubling from last year,” he said. “The main driver is that market prices for gas rose from around 10 euros (£8.40) per MWh a year ago to above 100 (£84).”