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Ukraine Crisis May Hit Asian Nations Relying on Russian Oil, Gas

Russia is the second largest supplier of crude oil to China and its third biggest gas supplier. It is also a major oil supplier to South Korea, while it also sells coal to Japan, Vietnam and India.

A worker is seen by the Russia-China pipeline. AFP photo.


As the Ukraine-Russia crisis intensifies, Brent crude futures have hit fresh seven-year highs as analysts warn trade sanctions may have implications for Asian countries dependent on Russia for oil, gas and coal.

This report gives a glance at how Asian countries rely on oil, gas and coal from Russia.



China accounts for 15.4% of Russia’s total crude oil exports, with only Saudi Arabia selling it more. China’s Russian crude oil buying averaged 1.59 million barrels per day (bpd) last year, or 15.5% of its total imports.

China receives about 40% of this via the 4,070-km (2,540-mile) East Siberia Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline.

Russia is also China’s No. 3 gas supplier. China accounted for 6.7% of Russian natural gas exports in 2021. Russian exports to China totalled 16.5 billion cubic metres (bcm), or about 12.07 million tonnes in 2021, meeting roughly 5% of China’s demand.

Russia was also China’s No. 2 coal supplier in 2021. China imported 15.25 million tonnes, or 4.72% of its total coal imports, from Russia in 2021, customs data showed.



Russia was South Korea’s fourth-largest crude oil supplier in 2021 after Saudi Arabia, the United States and Kuwait. South Korea imported about 7.92 million tonnes of crude oil from Russia last year, worth about $4.27 billion, data from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) showed.

South Korea also imported 2.87 million tonnes of gas from Russia last year, the KITA data showed, making it the country’s sixth-largest supplier.

Russia was the second-largest coal exporter to South Korea in 2021 after Australia, shipping 21.95 million tonnes worth about $2.56 billion and accounting for 17.5% of South Korea’s total coal imports, the data showed.



Russia was Japan’s second-biggest supplier of thermal coal in 2021, making up 12.48% of its thermal coal imports, Japanese customs data showed.

Russia was Japan’s fifth-biggest supplier of crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2021, accounting for 3.63% and 8.84% of its total imports, respectively.

Japan accounted for 4.1% of Russia’s crude oil exports and 7.2% of its natural gas exports.



Russia was the third-largest coal exporter to Vietnam in 2021, after Australia and Indonesia. Its coal exports to Vietnam totalled 3.59 million tonnes in 2021, accounting for 9.9% of Vietnam’s total coal imports, Vietnam customs data showed.

The country did not import crude oil from Russia in 2021, but Vietnam’s state oil firm PetroVietnam has a 49% stake in an oil joint venture (Rusvietpetro) with Zarubezhneft in Russia’s Nenets Autonomous Region, which had produced 30 million tonnes of crude oil as of mid-2021 since its establishment in 2008.



India imported 1.8 million tonnes of thermal coal from Russia in 2021, down from 2.5 million in 2020, data from Iman Resources showed.

Russia’s share in India’s thermal coal imports fell to 1.3% in 2021 from 1.6%.

India imported 43,400 bpd oil from Russia in 2021, about 1% of overall its imports.

India accounts for about 0.2% Russia’s natural gas exports. GAIL (India) Ltd has a 20-year deal with Gazprom to buy 2.5 million tonnes of LNG a year which started in 2018.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean OMeara





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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.


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