EU imports of energy products - recent developments
Data extracted in March 2023.
Planned article update: June 2024.
The monthly average value of energy imports increased sharply in 2022 compared to 2021.
Russia's share in extra-EU imports of net mass of natural gas (-22.9 pp) and petroleum oils (-5.7pp) decreased significantly in 2022.
This article provides a picture of trade in energy products between the European Union (EU) and the rest of the world (extra-EU trade). The analysis focuses on yearly data for the period 2018-2022, with a view on the quarters of 2022, thus reflecting the most recent developments. Until the end of 2021, Russia was the main supplier of petroleum oils and natural gas to the EU. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the European Union reacted with several packages of sanctions, which directly and indirectly affected the trade of oils and natural gas. An major diversion of trade in energy products started to emerge progressively in the following quarters of 2022.
The article shows data on trade in value (expressed in millions of euros) and net mass (weight expressed in tonnes). Supplementary information like trade in terajoules of natural gas can be found in Eurostat databases. The energy products considered in this article are petroleum oils (petroleum oils from natural gas condensates and petroleum oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude), natural gas (liquefied and in gaseous state) and solid fuels (coal, lignite, peat and coke).
This article is part of an online publication providing recent statistics on international trade in goods, covering information on the EU's main partners, main products traded, specific characteristics of trade as well as background information.
The analysis of the latest figures shows a substantial increase of the energy bill in 2022 compared with 2021. In the 2022, the average monthly value of imports in energy products continued to increase and grew by 122 % with respect to the previous year. The increase of the average monthly net mass in the same period was 8 %.
Figure 2 shows the share of the energy products in total EU imports considered in this article. The share of petroleum oils in the total of EU imports grew from 9.1 % in 2021 to 11.1 % in 2022. An even larger increase was seen for natural gas, growing from 5.1 % in 2021 to 10.8 % in 2022. This was mainly a result of higher prices of these commodities.
Figures 3 and 4 show the composition of energy products ('energy mix') imported by the European Union. Figure 3 shows that, measured in net mass, the energy mix did not change significantly between 2021 and the 2022. Measured in net mass, petroleum oils were by far the largest group of imported energy products (55.9 % of total EU energy imports in 2022), ahead of natural gas in gaseous state (17.9 %). Figure 4 shows that, when measured in value, the share of petroleum oils was 14.0 percentage points (pp) lower than in 2021. The share of natural gas in gaseous states increased by 3.6 pp. These fluctuations in value were in large part due to changes in prices.
The detailed tables for imports and exports of energy products are available here.
Main suppliers of natural gas and petroleum oils to the EU
As can be seen in Figure 5, Russia was the largest provider of petroleum oils in the first quarter of 2022 with a share of 26.0 %. The impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine led to significant changes in the share of the main partners because of several sanctions directly and indirectly affecting the trade of energy products. The share of Russia was 9.9 % in the fourth quarter of 2022, a decrease of 16.0 pp compared with the first quarter of 2022. The shares of Saudi Arabia (+3.6 pp), Angola (+2.1 pp), Norway (+1.5 pp), Iraq (+1.4 pp) and the United States (+1.3 pp) all increased.
Russia was also the largest supplier of natural gas to the EU with a share of 31.3 % in the first quarter of 2022, followed by Norway (25.8 %) and the United States (16,1 %) - see Figure 6. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine and in the light of sanctions imposed by the European Union, the supply of natural gas from Russia steadily decreased. Compared with the first quarter of 2022, Russia's share dropped by 15.5 pp and stood at 15.8 % in the fourth quarter of 2022. In the same period, the shares of Qatar (+3.8 pp), Algeria (+3.5 pp) and the United Kingdom (+2.6 pp) all increased.
The detailed tables for main import partners of petroleum oils and natural gas are available here.
Trend in extra-EU imports of energy products
For petroleum oils, average monthly imports from Russia and from the extra-EU partners except Russia are shown in Figure 7 (in value) and Figure 8 (in net mass). Between 2021 and 2022 and due to rising prices, the values of imports increased both for Russia (+€0.6 billion) and other extra-EU partners (+€11.0 billion). Conversely, the average monthly net mass increased slightly at total level. As already mentioned in previous paragraph, a major diversion among the partners was evident in 2022, with a drop for Russia (-1.5 million tonnes), which was more than compensated by the increase of other extra-EU partners (+€4.4 million tonnes). This meant that Russia's share dropped by 5.7 pp.
For natural gas, average monthly imports from Russia and from the extra-EU partners except Russia are shown in Figure 9 (in value) and Figure 10 (in net mass). Figure 9 shows an impressive increase of the value of monthly imports in 2022 compared with 2021, due only to increasing prices, as the net mass in the same period fell. Between 2021 and 2022, the total increase in value was equal to 200 %, with values of other partners (+297 %) increasing more than those of Russia (+56 %).
Conversely, the imported volume of natural gas decreased by 4 % between 2021 and 2022, with an increase in volume of other partners of 35 %, while Russia's volume dropped by 53 %. Consequently, the share of Russia in the import of natural gas in net mass dropped by 23 pp.
The detailed tables for extra-EU and Russian shares of energy imports in total imports are available here.
Source data for tables and graphs
The excel file below contains all figures and tables shown in the article as well as the detailed tables referred to in the text.
EU data is taken from Eurostat's COMEXT database. COMEXT is the reference database for international trade in goods. It provides access not only to both recent and historical data from the EU Member States but also to statistics of a significant number of non-EU countries. International trade aggregated and detailed statistics disseminated via the Eurostat website are compiled from COMEXT data according to a monthly process.
Data are collected by the competent national authorities of the EU Member States and compiled according to a harmonised methodology established by EU regulations before transmission to Eurostat. For extra-EU trade, the statistical information is mainly provided by the traders on the basis of customs declarations.
EU data are compiled according to EU guidelines and may, therefore, differ from national data published by the EU Member States. Statistics on extra-EU trade are calculated as the sum of trade of each of the 27 EU Member States with countries outside the EU. In other words, the EU is considered as a single trading entity and trade flows are measured into and out of the area, but not within it.
Trade in energy products is more susceptible of being confidential. In the context of this article, Eurostat has carried out some estimation in order to provide more accurate information while not disclosing confidential figures. Note that those estimated data cannot be retrieved from Eurostat databases or found in other publications. When going through the figures, it should also be kept in mind that confidentiality treatments may impact the data consistency. In particular, total values may slightly diverge from the sum of their subcomponents.
The United Kingdom is considered as an extra-EU partner country of the EU for the whole period covered by this article. However, the United Kingdom was still part of the internal market until the end of the transitory period (31 December 2020), meaning that data on trade with the United Kingdom are still based on statistical concepts applicable to trade between the EU Member States. Consequently, while imports from any other extra-EU trade partner are grouped by country of origin, the United Kingdom data reflect the country of consignment. In practice this means that the goods imported by the EU from the United Kingdom were physically transported from the United Kingdom but part of these goods could have been of other origin than the United Kingdom. For this reason, data on trade with the United Kingdom are not fully comparable with data on trade with other extra-EU trade partners.
This article analyses the EU imports of the following subset of energy products, as classified according to the Combined Nomenclature (CN), of either 4 or 8 digits. Chapter 27 of the Combined Nomenclature (mineral fuels, mineral oils) contains more products than the ones considered in this article. The CN codes analysed are grouped as follows:
- 27090010: Petroleum oils from natural gas condensates
- 27090090: Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude
- 27111100: Natural gas, liquefied
- 27112100: Natural gas in gaseous state
- 2701: Coal
- 2702: Lignite
- 2703: Peat
- 2704: Coke
Note that Eurostat publishes additional energy statistics in the Energy Dedicated Section. With regards to imports and exports of energy products, there are methodological reasons for differences between figures from energy statistics and figures presented in this article originating from international trade in goods statistics (ITGS):
- Different data sources: The sources for ITGS are the Intrastat declarations for intra-EU trade and the customs declarations for extra-EU trade. Additional data sources like data from national grid operators can also be used for natural gas and electricity. The sources for energy statistics are special statistical surveys, administrative data and estimations.
- Different concept applicable to the partner country: In ITGS, the partner country is the country of consignment for intra-EU imports and the country of origin for extra-EU imports. In energy statistics, the partner country is the country of origin for both intra- and extra-EU imports.
- Different breakdowns: Imports and exports are available in quantities and values broken down by partner in ITGS while only the quantities without partner breakdown are available in energy statistics.
- Different estimation techniques: In ITGS, the value is collected or estimated (estimation based on collected invoice value or, for natural gas and electricity, on additional data sources) while in energy statistics the value is not collected but estimated using quantities and retail prices.
Units of measure
- Trade values correspond to the statistical value. For imports, this is the amount in national currency which would be invoiced in case of purchase at the national border of the reporting country. It is called a CIF value (cost, insurance, freight) for imports.
- Quantities correspond to the net mass, expressed in tonnes.
- Supplementary information like trade in terajoules for natural gas can be found in Eurostat databases.
- Missing EU data — This article is mostly based on collected data (confidential and non-confidential). Missing data is estimated by the compilers of statistical information in the EU Member States.
- Confidentiality — Because of confidentiality, total values may differ from the sum of individual components.
- Trade and consumption — This article focuses on imports and exports of energy products and does not consider EU domestic energy production. Part of the energy products consumed in the EU is produced in the EU.
Direct access to
- International trade in goods (t_ext_go), see:
- International trade in goods - long-term indicators (t_ext_go_lti)
- International trade in goods - short-term indicators (t_ext_go_sti)
- International trade in goods (ext_go), see:
- International trade in goods - aggregated data (ext_go_agg)
- International trade in goods - long-term indicators (ext_go_lti)
- International trade in goods - short-term indicators (ext_go_sti)
- International trade in goods - detailed data (detail)
- International trade in goods statistics - background
- International trade in goods (ESMS metadata file — ext_go_agg_esms)
- User guide on European statistics on international trade in goods
- Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics
- Summaries of EU legislation: Common system for the production of energy statistics
- Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action
- EUROPE 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
- Summaries of EU legislation: Europe 2020: the European Union strategy for growth and employment
- Energy Roadmap 2050
- Summaries of EU legislation: Moving toward competitive sustainable and secure energy for Europe
- Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 of 6 May 2009 on Community statistics relating to external trade with non-member countries
- Summaries of EU Legislation: Extrastat: statistics relating to trade with non-EU countries
- Regulation (EU) No 92/2010 of 2 February 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 471/2009, as regards data exchange between customs authorities and national statistical authorities, compilation of statistics and quality assessment
- Regulation (EU) No 113/2010 of 9 February 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 471/2009 , as regards trade coverage, definition of the data, compilation of statistics on trade by business characteristics and by invoicing currency and specific goods or movements.
- Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of 31 March 2004 on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91.
- Summaries of EU Legislation: Intrastat: statistics relating to the trading of goods between EU countries
- Commission Regulation (EC) No 1982/2004 of 18 November 2004 implementing Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Commission Regulations (EC) No 1901/2000 and (EEC) No 3590/92.