MOSCOW: Russia has redirected its oil exports from Europe to China and India, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday (Dec 27), almost two years after Moscow was hit by Western sanctions over the Ukraine war.
After President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022, Western countries hit Russia with a slew of penalties including a European Union embargo on its seaborne oil deliveries.
“We previously supplied a total of 40 to 45 percent of oil and oil products to Europe,” said Novak, who is in charge of energy policy.
“This year, we expect the figure not to exceed four to five percent of total exports,” Novak said in a televised interview.
As it was losing much of its market share in Europe, Moscow turned to other buyers including China.
“China – whose share (of oil exports) has grown to 45 to 50 per cent – and India have become our main partners in the current situation,” Novak said.
India, which previously got almost no shipments, has become a major buyer.
“In two years the total share of supplies to India has increased to about 40 per cent,” Novak said.
India has been able to snap up discounted crude from Russia before refining it and selling it to European buyers, reports say.
While these sales are legal, critics say they amount to a backdoor route for Russian oil and undermine the effects of the sanctions.
Russia has also had to find new markets for its natural gas exports as Moscow cut its exports to EU countries, which have also looked for new suppliers.
Novak said the Russian energy industry had successfully grown despite multiplying sanctions in 2023.
Novak said he thought Russian oil and gas revenues will amount to almost nine trillion rubles (US$98 billion) this year – a level similar to before the offensive in 2021.
The oil and gas business accounts for 27 per cent of Russia’s gross domestic product, according to Novak, bringing in 57 per cent of Russia’s export revenues.
Novak said Russia was open to other buyers.
“There are a lot of people who want to buy Russian oil. These are Latin American countries, African countries, and other countries of