Russia's Crude Exports Rise Above the Levels Before War as Western Sanctions Fail

Russia is selling more oil currently than it used to sell before the Western sanctions in the aftermath of the Ukraine war, a report has said, highlighting the failure of the American move to curb Moscow's oil revenues.

Russia's oil exports have reached levels prior to the start of the war by virtue of generous buying from China and India, according to the Business Insider report.

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Russia's new 100 ruble banknote Twitter

Russia's seaborne crude oil exports stood at 3.5 million barrels per day in the first quarter of 2023, the report says. In comparison, this number was 3.35 million barrels in the same quarter a year ago, just about the time the Russian war on Ukraine started. the tail end of which saw the start of Russia's war on Ukraine.

Beating Western Sanctions

The center-piece of the Western strategy to counter Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine war was economic sanctions. The United States, UK and the European Union rolled out crippling sanctions against Moscow with surprising speed. The expectation was that the sanctions would destroy Russia's economy, forcing the Kremlin to roll back its ambitious military goals in Ukraine quickly.

Major russian gas pipelines to Europe
Major russian gas pipelines to Europe Wikimedia Commons

India's Huge Purchase

The report also highlights that China and India together account for a whopping 90 percent of Russia's oil sales. Europe, which used to buy large quantities of Russian oil, only buys around 8 percent of Russia's oil. Both New Delhi and Beijing are buying about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from Russia, the report says, citing data from analytics firm Kpler.

"Both China and Russia are taking advantage of discounted Russian crude, benefiting from the sanctions applied on Russian materials by other countries," Kepler lead analyst Matt Smith told the publication.

Although China used to buy significant quantities of Russian crude even before the Ukraine war, it was India that ramped up Russian crude purchase at an unbelievably fast pace. India, which used to buy only around 1 percent of its oil from Russia now meets more than 50 percent of its crude needs from Russia.

Russia's Oil Revenue Rises

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A worker prepares to transport oil pipelines to be laid for the Pengerang Gas Pipeline Project at an area 40km (24 miles) away from the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex in Pengerang, Johor, February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Though the US and and its European allies unleashed a no holds barred sanctions regime against Russia, various reports throughout the last year indicated that the sanctions may have failed in returning the desired goals.

According to figures released by a Finland-based think tank, Russia made $158 billion in energy exports in the six months after the start of the Ukraine war. "Surging fossil fuel prices mean that Russia's current revenue is far above previous years' level, despite the reductions in this year's export volumes," the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) said in September.

In January, a Reuters report said Russia's current account surplus hit a record high in 2022, helped by the surging oil revenue. A fall in imports and robust oil and gas exports kept foreign money flowing in despite Western efforts to isolate the Russian economy, data released by the Russian central bank showed. Russia's current account came in at $227.4 billion, up 86% from 2021, the report adds.