Statistics Explained

EU imports of energy products - recent developments

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Data extracted in December 2022.

Planned article update: March 2023.

Highlights

The monthly average value of energy imports increased sharply in the first three-quarters of 2022.

Russia's share in extra-EU imports of natural gas (-24.3 pp) and petroleum oils (-10.5 pp) decreased significantly in the third quarter of 2022 compared with 2021.

Figure 1: Extra-EU imports of energy products, 2018 - third quarter of 2022
(monthly averages)

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 2018-2021 and the first three-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. A major diversion in the trade of energy products can thus be expected; evidence of this process is visible already in the first three-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.


Full article

Overview

The analysis of the latest figures shows a substantial increase of the energy bill since 2021. In the third quarter of 2022, the average monthly value of imports in energy products continued to increase and grew by 18 % with respect to the second quarter 2022. The increase of the average monthly value with respect to 2021 was equal to 166 %.


Figure 1: Extra-EU imports of energy products, 2018 - third quarter of 2022
(monthly averages)

Figure 2 shows the share in total EU imports of the energy products considered in this article. The share of petroleum oils in the total of EU imports grew from 9.1 % in 2021 to 11.3 % in the third quarter of 2022. An even larger increase was seen for natural gas, growing from 5.1 % in 2021 to 13.2 % in the third quarter of 2022. This was mainly a result of higher prices of these commodities.

Figure 2: Energy products share in total EU imports, 2018 - third quarter of 2022
(share (%) of trade in value)

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 first three-quarters of 2022. Measured in net mass, petroleum oils were by far the largest group of imported energy products (56.0 % of total EU energy imports in the first three-quarters of 2022), ahead of natural gas in gaseous state (23.7 %). Figure 4 shows that, when measured in value, the share of petroleum oils was 10.8 percentage points (pp) lower than in 2021. The share of natural gas in gaseous states increased by 9.2 pp. These fluctuations in value were in large part due to changes in prices.

Figure 3: Extra-EU imports of energy, 2021 and first three-quarters of 2022
(share (%) of trade in net mass)


Figure 4: Extra-EU imports of energy, 2021 and first three-quarters of 2022
(share (%) of trade in value)


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 2021. The share of Russia was 14.4 % in the third quarter of 2022, a decrease of 10.5 pp compared with 2021. The shares of the United States (+3.0 pp), Norway (+1.1 pp), Saudi Arabia (+4.0 pp) and Iraq (+0.9 pp) all increased while the shares of Kazakhstan (-1.2 pp), Libya (-2.8 pp), Nigeria (-1.8 pp) decreased.

Figure 5: Extra-EU imports of petroleum oil by partner, 2021 and first three-quarters of 2022
(share (%) of trade in value)

Russia was also the largest supplier of natural gas to the EU with a share of 39.3 % in 2021, followed by Norway (24.2 %) and Algeria (8.2 %) - see Figure 6. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine and in the light of several packages of sanctions imposed by the European Union, the supply of natural gas from Russia steadily decreased. Compared with 2021, Russia's share dropped by 24.3 pp and stood at 15.0 % in the third quarter of 2022. At the same time, the shares of Norway (+6.6 pp), the United States (+8.2 pp) and the United Kingdom (+6.1 pp) all increased.

Figure 6: Extra-EU imports of natural gas by partner, 2021 and first three-quarters of 2022
(share (%) of trade in value)



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 the second and the third quarter 2022, the average monthly value and the net mass remained almost stable at total level. However, a major diversion among the partners continued, with a drop for Russia in both value (-€0.7 billion) and quantity (-1.2 million tonnes), fully compensated by the increase of other extra-EU partners (+€0.8 billion and +1.7 million tonnes). With respect to 2021, the Russia drop for net mass was equal to 2.0 billion tonnes, while in the same period the other countries increased by 6.2 billion tonnes.

Figure 7: Extra-EU imports of petroleum oils, 2018 - third quarter of 2022
(monthly averages in value - € million)


Figure 8: Extra-EU imports of petroleum oils, 2018 - third quarter of 2022
(monthly averages in net mass - million tonnes)

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 remained stable. Between the second and the third quarter 2022, the total increase of monthly value was equal to 42 %, due to the increased share of other partners (+57 %) while Russia's share dropped by 7 %.

However, when looking at the net mass imported for the same quarters in 2022, the results are even more impressive. The imported volume of natural gas increased by 5 % between the second and third quarter of 2022, with an increase by other partners of 20 %, while Russia's share dropped by 37 %. Compared with 2021, the import of natural gas in net mass from Russia dropped by 66 % in the third quarter 2022, while the share of other partners increased by 53 %.

Figure 9: Extra-EU imports of natural gas, 2018 - third quarter of 2022
(monthly averages in net mass - € million)


Figure 10: Extra-EU imports of natural gas, 2018 - third quarter of 2022
(monthly averages in net mass - million tonnes)


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.

Data sources

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.

Energy products

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:

Petroleum oils

  • 27090010: Petroleum oils from natural gas condensates
  • 27090090: Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude

Natural gas

  • 27111100: Natural gas, liquefied
  • 27112100: Natural gas in gaseous state

Solid fuels

  • 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.

Data limitations

  • 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.

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International trade in goods - long-term indicators (t_ext_go_lti)
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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)