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Russia's War on Ukraine

Analysing the impacts of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on global energy markets and international energy security

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Russia is a major player in global energy markets. It is one of the world’s top three crude producers, vying for the top spot with Saudi Arabia and the United States. Russia relies heavily on revenues from oil and natural gas, which in 2021 made up 45% of Russia’s federal budget.

Russia is also the world’s second-largest producer of natural gas, behind the United States, and has the world’s largest gas reserves. Russia is the world’s largest gas exporter. In 2021 the country produced 762 bcm of natural gas, and exported approximately 210 bcm via pipeline.

Since the start of the crisis, the IEA has been monitoring the implications of Russia's invasion of Ukraine for global energy markets. IEA member countries have agreed on two occasions to take the exceptional step of releasing oil from their emergency reserves to reduce the strains in markets and send a unified message that there will be no shortfall in supplies as a result of Russia’s invasion.

In the first collective action following the invasion, agreed on 1 March 2022, IEA member countries committed to release 62.7 million barrels of emergency oil stocks. On 1 April, they agreed to make a further 120 million barrels available from emergency reserves, the largest stock release in the IEA’s history, which coincided with the release of additional barrels from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The two coordinated drawdowns in 2022 are the fourth and fifth in the history of the IEA, which was created in 1974. Previous collective actions were taken in 1991, 2005 and 2011.

Key points

Share of Russia in European Union and United Kingdom gas demand, 2001-2021


The role of Russia in Europe’s natural gas supply

The reliance of the European Union and (indirectly) the United Kingdom on Russian natural gas supplies has increased over the last decade. Natural gas consumption in the EU and UK remained broadly flat in aggregate over this period, but production fell by a third and the gap has been filled by increased imports.

Consequently, the share of Russian gas supplies increased from 25% of the region’s total gas demand in 2009 to 32% in 2021.

Russian crude and oil product exports, Jan 2020-Dec 2021


Russia plays an outsized role in global oil markets

Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer behind the United States and Saudi Arabia. In January 2022, Russia’s total oil production was 11.3 mb/d. By comparison, US total oil production was 17.6 mb/d while Saudi Arabia produced 12 mb/d.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil to global markets and the second largest crude oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia. In December 2021, it exported 7.8 mb/d. Oil product exports totalled 2.85 mb/d.

Our work on energy security

The IEA defines energy security as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price. Energy security has many aspects: long-term energy security mainly deals with timely investments to supply energy in line with economic developments and environmental needs. On the other hand, short-term energy security focuses on the ability of the energy system to react promptly to sudden changes in the supply-demand balance.