Here’s where Russian oil flows

The countries that import Russian crude and other petroleum products — and what it would take to turn off the spigot

The shock of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended politics around the world and posed a key question: Should the rest of the world shun Russian oil to avoid paying money to the Putin regime?

The Biden administration has decided to ban the import of oil and natural gas from Russia, expanding on the sweeping economic sanctions already in place. The European Union, which relies much more heavily on imports of Russian oil, has not yet taken action, though it has vowed to cut its use of Russian gas by two-thirds this year.

Russia is the world’s largest oil exporter. Many lawmakers from both parties in the United States are arguing that it is possible to impose a ban on Russian oil without hurting the U.S. economy. But will the barrels add up in the global market? Oil analysts say the sheer magnitude of Russia’s oil exports makes them difficult if not impossible to offset, setting up high prices and an economic slowdown.

Here is a look at the flow of Russian oil, from western Siberia or the distant Yamal Peninsula to the cities of Beijing, Berlin and beyond.

Russia’s oil exports

7.2 million barrels per day

Russia is the third-largest oil

producer in the world. Its output

comes to 11.3 million barrels a day,

mostly from eastern Siberia, the

Yamal region and Tatarstan.

 

Russia ranks as the world’s largest oil

exporter. It consumes about 3.45

million barrels a day while exporting

more than 7 million barrels of crude

oil and other petroleum products a

day, shipped primarily through

pipelines but also by tankers.

Oil exports to:

Countries backing

sanctions

against Russia

Not

backing

sanctions

4.8 million

barrels per day

2.3 million

Denmark

Greece

France

Spain

In the year ending in October, Russia

supplied about a quarter of all oil

imported by the European Union,

three times as much as the

next-largest importer.

Germany

Poland

Dependence on Russian oil varies

widely among E.U. countries.

Germany, the bloc’s economic

powerhouse, and Poland

imported the largest quantities

for domestic use.

Lithuania

Slovakia

Finland

Among E.U. countries, Slovakia,

Finland and Lithuania rely most on

Russian oil imports.

United States

In the United States, the Biden

administration backed a ban on all

imports of Russian oil and gas as

lawmakers pushed ahead with a

bipartisan bill on Capitol Hill.

Overall, Russian oil last year

accounted for about 3 percent of

total U.S. consumption. Most

analysts say U.S. refiners can easily

buy that much elsewhere. A small

refiner in Hawaii, Par Pacific, for

example, said it has stopped buying

from Russia and would look to North

and South America for supplies.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a major refining

and trading center for Europe, with

large amounts of oil bought and sold

in Rotterdam.

China

Russia sold 1.6 million barrels of

crude oil a day to China last year,

making it the largest single buyer of

Russian crude. Russia was China's

second-largest crude oil supplier in

2021, accounting for about 15 percent

of China's total imports and behind

only Saudi Arabia.

Slovakia

Bulgaria

Belarus

Roughly 745,000 barrels of crude oil

was delivered per day to Central and

Eastern European nations, including

Hungary, Romania, the Czech

Republic, Slovakia, Belarus and

Bulgaria. Belarus got 95 percent of its

oil imports from Russia. Hungary got

74 percent and Lithuania 61 percent.

Russia’s oil exports

7.2 million barrels per day

Russia is the third-largest oil producer in the

world. Its output comes to 11.3 million barrels

a day, mostly from eastern Siberia, the Yamal

region and Tatarstan.

 

Russia ranks as the world’s largest oil

exporter. It consumes about 3.45 million

barrels a day while exporting more than

7 million barrels of crude oil and other

petroleum products a day, shipped primarily

through pipelines but also by tankers.

Oil exports to:

Countries backing

sanctions

against Russia

Not

backing

sanctions

4.8 million

barrels per day

2.3 million

Denmark

Greece

France

Spain

In the year ending in October, Russia supplied

about a quarter of all oil imported by the

European Union, three times as much as the

next-largest importer.

Germany

Poland

Dependence on Russian oil varies widely

among E.U. countries. Germany, the bloc’s

economic powerhouse, and Poland imported

the largest quantities for domestic use.

Lithuania

Slovakia

Finland

Among E.U. countries, Slovakia, Finland and

Lithuania rely most on Russian oil imports.

United States

In the United States, the Biden

administration backed a ban on all imports

of Russian oil and gas as lawmakers pushed

ahead with a bipartisan bill on Capitol Hill.

Overall, Russian oil last year accounted for

about 3 percent of total U.S. consumption.

Most analysts say U.S. refiners can easily buy

that much elsewhere. A small refiner in

Hawaii, Par Pacific, for example, said it has

stopped buying from Russia and would look

to North and South America for supplies.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a major refining and

trading center for Europe, with large amounts

of oil bought and sold in Rotterdam.

China

Russia sold 1.6 million barrels of crude oil a

day to China last year, making it the largest

single buyer of Russian crude. Russia was

China's second-largest crude oil supplier in

2021, accounting for about 15 percent of

China's total imports and behind only

Saudi Arabia.

Slovakia

Bulgaria

Belarus

Roughly 745,000 barrels of crude oil was

delivered per day to Central and Eastern

European nations, including Hungary,

Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia,

Belarus and Bulgaria. Belarus got 95 percent

of its oil imports from Russia. Hungary got

74 percent and Lithuania 61 percent.

Russia’s oil exports

7.2 million barrels per day

Russia is the third-largest oil producer in

the world. Its output comes to 11.3 million

barrels a day, mostly from eastern Siberia,

the Yamal region and Tatarstan.

 

Russia ranks as the world’s largest oil

exporter. It consumes about 3.45 million

barrels a day while exporting more than

7 million barrels of crude oil and other

petroleum products a day, shipped

primarily through pipelines but also by

tankers.

Oil exports to:

Countries backing

sanctions against Russia

Countries

not backing

sanctions

against Russia

4.8 million barrels per day

2.3 million

Lithuania

Denmark

Estonia

Greece

France

Spain

In the year ending in October, Russia supplied about a quarter

of all oil imported by the European Union, three times as

much as the next-largest importer.

Germany

Poland

Dependence on Russian oil varies widely among E.U.

countries. Germany, the bloc’s economic powerhouse, and

Poland imported the largest quantities for domestic use.

Lithuania

Slovakia

Finland

Among E.U. countries, Slovakia, Finland and Lithuania rely

most on Russian oil imports.

United States

In the United States, the Biden administration backed a ban on

all imports of Russian oil and gas as lawmakers pushed ahead

with a bipartisan bill on Capitol Hill. Overall, Russian oil last

year accounted for about 3 percent of total U.S. consumption.

Most analysts say U.S. refiners can easily buy that much

elsewhere. A small refiner in Hawaii, Par Pacific, for example,

said it has stopped buying from Russia and would look to North

and South America for supplies.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a major refining and trading center for

Europe, with large amounts of oil bought and sold in Rotterdam.

China

Russia sold 1.6 million barrels of crude oil a day to China last

year, making it the largest single buyer of Russian crude. Russia

was China's second-largest crude oil supplier in 2021,

accounting for about 15 percent of China's total imports and

behind only Saudi Arabia.

Slovakia

Bulgaria

Belarus

Roughly 745,000 barrels of crude oil was delivered per day to

Central and Eastern European nations, including Hungary,

Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus and Bulgaria.

Belarus got 95 percent of its oil imports from Russia. Hungary

got 74 percent and Lithuania 61 percent.

Russia’s oil exports

7.2 million barrels per day

Russia is the third-largest oil producer in the

world. Its output comes to 11.3 million barrels

a day, mostly from eastern Siberia, the Yamal

region and Tatarstan.

 

Russia ranks as the world’s largest oil exporter.

It consumes about 3.45 million barrels a day

while exporting more than 7 million barrels of

crude oil and other petroleum products a day,

shipped primarily through pipelines but also by

tankers.

Oil exports to:

Countries backing

sanctions against Russia

Countries not

backing

sanctions

against Russia

4.8 million barrels per day

2.3 million

Lithuania

Denmark

Estonia

Greece

France

Spain

In the year ending in October, Russia supplied about a quarter of

all oil imported by the European Union, three times as much as the

next-largest importer.

Germany

Poland

Dependence on Russian oil varies widely among E.U. countries.

Germany, the bloc’s economic powerhouse, and Poland imported the

largest quantities for domestic use.

Lithuania

Slovakia

Finland

Among E.U. countries, Slovakia, Finland and Lithuania rely most on

Russian oil imports.

United States

In the United States, the Biden administration backed a ban on all

imports of Russian oil and gas as lawmakers pushed ahead with a

bipartisan bill on Capitol Hill. Overall, Russian oil last year accounted

for about 3 percent of total U.S. consumption. Most analysts say U.S.

refiners can easily buy that much elsewhere. A small refiner in Hawaii,

Par Pacific, for example, said it has stopped buying from Russia and

would look to North and South America for supplies.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is a major refining and trading center for Europe,

with large amounts of oil bought and sold in Rotterdam.

China

Russia sold 1.6 million barrels of crude oil a day to China last year,

making it the largest single buyer of Russian crude. Russia was China's

second-largest crude oil supplier in 2021, accounting for about 15

percent of China's total imports and behind only Saudi Arabia.

Slovakia

Bulgaria

Belarus

Roughly 745,000 barrels of crude oil was delivered per day to Central

and Eastern European nations, including Hungary, Romania, the

Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus and Bulgaria. Belarus got 95 percent

of its oil imports from Russia. Hungary got 74 percent and Lithuania

61 percent.

Who can produce enough oil to make up for the loss of Russia’s?

This is a daunting task, especially since global demand for oil is expected to climb 3.2 million barrels a day in 2022 to a total of 100.6 million a day, according to the International Energy Agency’s most recent monthly report.

In addition, current exports could be disrupted if internal fighting were to break out, as it has before, in places such as Libya, Iraq or Nigeria. And some refineries can only be matched with certain grades of crude.

“This is suboptimal math for the White House,” said Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets. “You have to string it together, and everything has to break your way.”

Only a few countries would have the ability to boost their production to replace the

Russian oil cut off by sanctions.

4.8 million

barrels per day

Saudi Arabia

and UAE

Venezuela

Iran

U.S.

Up to

2.5 million

barrels per day

of additional

production

Up to

1.3 million

Up to

760,000

Up to

600,000

Only a few countries would have the ability to boost their production to replace the Russian oil cut off by sanctions.

4.8 million

barrels per day

Saudi Arabia

and UAE

Venezuela

Iran

U.S.

Up to 2.5 million

barrels per day

of additional

production

Up to

1.3 million

Up to

760,000

Up to

600,000

Only a few countries would have the ability to boost their production to replace the Russian oil cut off by sanctions.

4.8 million barrels per day

Saudi Arabia

and UAE

Iran

Venezuela

U.S.

Up to 2.5 million

barrels per day of

additional production

Up to

1.3 million

Up to

760,000

Up to

600,000

Only a few countries would have the ability to boost their production to replace the Russian oil cut off by sanctions.

4.8 million barrels per day

Saudi Arabia

and UAE

Iran

Venezuela

U.S.

Up to 2.5 million

barrels per day of

additional production

Up to

1.3 million

Up to

760,000

Up to

600,000

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

These two countries control about 2 million to 2.5 million barrels a day or more of spare capacity but are restraining output to keep prices high and to keep a cushion for even greater crises.

Most of that spare capacity rests in the hands of the Saudi kingdom, often known as the central bank of oil. The IEA already expects the UAE to raise output by 400,000 barrels a day. Iraq and Kuwait could increase output slightly.

All four countries are members of the 62-year-old Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which started meeting with non-OPEC countries about five years ago to more effectively curtail supply and boost prices. The combined group — which is known as OPEC+ and includes Russia — met recently and did not change production quotas. So far, the Saudi-Russia alliance appears to be working, despite President Biden’s entreaties that the kingdom put more oil onto world markets.

Iran

If negotiations over Iran’s effort to develop nuclear weapons succeed, and if trade sanctions are then lifted, Iran could boost its crude oil exports by as much as 1.3 million barrels a day.

But the negotiations have been arduous and have been complicated by the fact that Russia must sign off on any accord with Iran. Last week, Russia presented a new condition: a U.S. guarantee that the sanctions that have been imposed on Moscow for invading Ukraine will not be applied to Russian trade and investment with Iran. Even without this condition, Iran is supposed to open its facilities to verification before sanctions are lifted.

Venezuela

Though it is one of the five founding members of OPEC, Venezuela has suffered from poor management and tough U.S. sanctions. It does not have the ability to switch on oil output overnight like Saudi Arabia, but Biden administration officials have started reaching out to its leaders amid the crisis. Its wells need extensive maintenance, but with Western assistance and capital investment Venezuela could squeeze out as much as half a million to 600,000 barrels a day within a few months or a year.

But tensions remain between the United States and Venezuela, which has been run by populist dictators. The goals of the U.S. sanctions have not been met. Moreover, the Venezuelan oil fields pose some of the world’s gravest environmental concerns.

United States

The United States might also be a source of new streams of oil; the Energy Information Administration forecasts a 760,000-barrel-a-day increase in U.S. production in 2022, bringing it to 12 million barrels a day. Some industry executives say the increase could be as much as 1 million barrels a day, mostly from shale oil. This increase would take weeks or months.

Where can Russia turn if more countries impose sanctions on its oil?

Russia could lose some market share if other countries step in. But prices are high even after traders insist on $25-to-$30 discounts on Russia’s oil.

The Kremlin can look to China, a growing customer. Or it can look to India, which imports nearly 85 percent of its 4.3 million-barrel-a-day crude requirements but gets less than 3 percent of that from Russia, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights’ Platts Analytics.

Import and export numbers for crude oil and related products come from Trade Data Monitor and generally cover 12 months ending in October 2021. Data for countries’ future production potential comes from the IEA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Rapidan Energy Group and RBC Capital Markets. Editing by Monica Ulmanu and Juliet Eilperin.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, following staged referendums that were widely denounced as illegal. Follow our live updates here.

The response: The Biden administration on Friday announced a new round of sanctions on Russia, in response to the annexations, targeting government officials and family members, Russian and Belarusian military officials and defense procurement networks. President Volodymyr Zelensky also said Friday that Ukraine is applying for “accelerated ascension” into NATO, in an apparent answer to the annexations.

In Russia: Putin declared a military mobilization on Sept. 21 to call up as many as 300,000 reservists in a dramatic bid to reverse setbacks in his war on Ukraine. The announcement led to an exodus of more than 180,000 people, mostly men who were subject to service, and renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.

The fight: Ukraine mounted a successful counteroffensive that forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.

Loading...
Loading...