How much do we depend on gas and oil from Russia?

How much do we depend on gas and oil from Russia?

Never before in the weeks following the Russian invasion of Ukraine has energy become a geopolitical factor. The Western response to the Kremlin's military initiative in fact passes through a series of sanctions, from which however oil and gas are excluded. An exclusion supported, among others, by the Italian government. The reason? We depend on fossil fuels extracted in Russia.

The numbers of energy dependence A dependence that, thanks to Eurostat, it is possible to quantify. The European Statistical Institute has released data, updated to 2020, relating to the dependence on Russian fossil fuels in European countries. summarized the data in this map

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Here if you don't see the map By default the total situation is displayed. The filter at the bottom right (top left for desk readers) allows you to select a fossil source of your choice between natural gas, coal and oil. A darker color indicates a higher percentage of Russian origin on the total imported during 2020.

At the European level, 24.4% of fossil fuel imports have a Russian address as sender. In Italy the percentage drops to 23.8%, but varies greatly depending on the product. In fact, it is 49.8% for coal, 40.4% for gas and 17.4% for oil.

The weight of imports from Russia To better understand what the impact is of Russian fossil sources on the European energy balance it is useful to compare the percentage of energy that individual countries import from abroad with the share of the latter that comes from Russia. A comparison visible in this graph.

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Here if you don't see the graph Each dot represents a country. The blue one indicates Italy, the blue one the European Union. By default the situation relating to natural gas is displayed, but the filter in the lower part (top left for those who read from the desk) allows you to view the one concerning oil.

The more a point is to the right and the higher the percentage of natural gas or oil it imported from abroad in 2020. The higher it is, the greater the share of this import came from Russia. In practice, the more a point is in the upper right corner, the more the country it represents has a strong dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

On the natural gas front, Italy has a similar dependence to the European average, although it depends on imports for a percentage higher than a dozen points. As far as oil is concerned, the situation is less complex: if at European level 35% of imports come from Russia, in our country it drops to around 17%.

The importance of fossil fuels The problem , environmental as well as geopolitical, is that fossil fuels still represent a significant share of the European energy mix. In other words, the distribution of the sources that feed the houses and industries of the old continent. In 2020, 34.5% of the energy consumed in Europe came from oil, 23.7% from gas. Renewables and biofuels did not go beyond 17.4%, while nuclear power stopped at 12.7%.

The picture, country by country, is reconstructed in this infographic:

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Here if you do not see the graph Each treemap represents the percentage distribution of the different energy sources, the legend at the bottom allows you to read the infographic. At the Italian level, in 2020 the country's main energy source was natural gas (40.5%), followed by oil with 32.9%. Renewable sources stop at 20.4%. It is true that this figure is higher than the target set by the European Union. But still not enough to allow Italy to approve sanctions on Russian fossil fuels without serious consequences for its economy.

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