China and India received almost all of Russia’s oil exports this year giving Moscow a way to keep its war chest funded despite sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow circumvented Western economic sanctions by quickly rerouting supplies away from Europe, a move Russia says helped cement its ties with Asia.
Together China and India accounted for around 90% of Russia’s crude exports, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told state TV Rossiya-24 on Wednesday.
“As for those restrictions and embargoes on supplies to Europe and the US that were introduced… this only accelerated the process of reorienting our energy flows,” Novak said.
Novak, who is in charge of Russia’s energy sector, said Europe’s share of the country’s crude exports has fallen to only about 4-5% from about 40-45%.
“The main partners in the current situation are China, whose share has grown to approximately 45-50%, and, of course, India… Earlier, there basically were no supplies to India; in two years, the total share of supplies to India has come to 40%,” Novak said.
Fresh US sanctions on LNG
Speaking about the OPEC+ group of leading oil producers, Novak said Russia was sticking to its obligations on supply cuts and it saw the Brent oil price at $80-$85 per barrel next year, broadly in line with current levels.
The United States last month also declared sanctions against Arctic LNG 2, a liquefied natural gas project led by Russian company Novatek.
Fearing a backlash from the sanctions, foreign shareholders like Japan suspended participation in the project, renouncing their responsibilities for financing and for offtake contracts for the plant, the daily Kommersant reported on Monday.
Sanctions also resulted in Novatek declaring force majeure over LNG supplies from the project, industry sources told Reuters last week.
Novak said the project’s first train has effectively already started producing LNG with the first supplies expected in the first quarter of 2024.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena