Europas fossile Geschäfte mit Russland in Grafiken

Credit: Tagesspiegel

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A critical part of such sanctions centres on fossil fuels. The continent relies heavily on oil, gas and coal from Russia via seas, pipelines and rail. It is estimated that Russia received €400 billion from Europe for energy purchases last year. Such a reliance resulted in the bloc adopting a cautious approach to embargoes and boycotts of Russian fossil fuels.

But sanctions are now on the horizon. The importation of oil and petroleum products comes fully into effect from February 2023, while an embargo on seaborne crude oil will come into force from December and EU imports of Russian coal are now prohibited. Insurers, financiers and industry facilitators have also been targeted by Brussels.

European imports from Russia have declined greatly since the invasion began. But new Investigate Europe and Reporters United research found that hundreds of European-linked vessels continue to export oi, gas and coal internationally from Russian ports.

These findings are at the heart of our latest investigation series, Fuelling War, which shines a light on the European shipping companies and operators that continue to export fossil fuels from Putin’s Russia.

It is an ongoing, long-term project and as the implementation of embargoes nears, we will follow developments closely, continue to report on those profiting from the trade and monitor EU efforts to enforce sanctions.

Central to the series is data. Our teams of reporters and researchers have spent months analysing ship movements, ownership details, vessel routes and import records to document the extent of Europe’s role in shipping fossil fuels out of Russia. Here, we present the visual findings of our analysis. The data is sourced from CREA, Equasis and other platforms.

The below visualisations were produced in partnership with Tagesspiegel, our media partner in Germany, and we will be updating them on a monthly basis to help document Europe’s ongoing trade in fossil fuels with Russia.

Greece is the dominant global force when it comes to the movement of oil, gas and coal. The country has an ancient maritime sector and its shipowners are among some of its most influential and well-known figures.

Shipping companies linked to China, the UAE and Singapore have also played a prominent role in transporting fossil fuels from Rusisan ports since the war began.

Imports into European ports have waned since the invasion and after the sanctions announcement in late May. Although, notably, Italy is a significant outlier among its EU peers, and its ports actually received more fossil fuels in the last two months, compared to early in the conflict. And while the crude oil might be landing in Sicily, its final destination could be any number of countries across the continent.

It is strikingly clear from the graphs above and below just how significant the role is of Greek companies. But alongside high-profile Greek firms like TMS Tankers and Minerva Marine, a fair share of Russian fossil fuel exports are carried out by companies in Germany and elsewhere.

Our research estimated that shipping companies with European ownership or management links were responsible for 55% of all fossil fuel exports from Russia between 24 February and 31 August. But as the data below shows, there has also been a decline in trades by European ships internationally in recent months.

The graph below takes a closer look at trade by firms within the European Union and how their exports have changed during the course of the year. Again, declines are clear but there are also noticeable spikes in activity several weeks after the war started.

Deeper analysis show that the decline in trade by European-linked firms is occurring across the board. The below visualisation gives an insight into how exports by Greek firms have developed during the year.

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