|China spent 18.9 billion US dollars to buy Russian oil, gas and coal|
Russia earned $24 billion in revenue from selling energy to China and India in the three months following its invasion of Ukraine. This suggests higher global energy prices have limited efforts by the United States (US) and Europe to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin. Quoted from Al Jazeera, China spent 18.9 billion US dollars to buy Russian oil, gas and coal in the period from late February to late May, almost three times the amount in the previous year. While India spent 5.1 billion US dollars in the same period, five times the amount in the previous year.
“China has basically bought everything that Russia can export via Pacific pipelines and ports,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, principal analyst at the Finland-based Center for Energy and Clean Air Research. Myllyvirta, who has tracked Russian energy flows since the Ukraine war broke out, says India has become a major buyer of Russian cargo that Europe does not want. “India has become a major buyer of cargo from the Atlantic that Europe no longer wants,” added Myllyvirta. Russia's gains from the energy sector are not expected to end any time soon, given energy prices are much higher than last year, and Russia's offer of fuel discounts attracting buyers. Myllyvirta expects India to increase its purchases of Russian energy in the coming months as the EU ban on Russian oil takes effect.
Meanwhile, purchases of Russian fuel from Europe will shrink, as Moscow's ban on coal and oil imports takes effect, and Russia has cut gas supplies to several European countries. Russia has long established trade relations with China and India. Apart from offering high discounts, Moscow also accepts payments in Chinese yuan and Indian rupees to maintain strong trade flows between the two countries. China is the world's largest energy importer and has a dedicated pipeline for Siberian oil and gas.
Even as its energy consumption was limited during the first half of the year, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, China was consuming more of Russia's energy. According to an Indian Ministry of Commerce official who did not want to be identified, said India spent 8.8 billion US dollars on imports of Russian oil and coal from February 24 to June 30.
In addition to soaring imports of Russian coal and oil, India has also imported three cargoes of Russian liquefied natural gas since the war began. "Historically, India has taken very little Russian oil, but the war in Ukraine and the European Union's embargo on Russian oil have led to a rebalancing of oil trade flows," said Wei Cheong Ho, an analyst at Rystad Energy.