In a nutshell
- With Russia’s oil sanctioned, the EU is seeking alternative suppliers
- The Kazakh oil industry could make a valuable partner for Europe
- The catch: Kazakhstan relies on Russian pipelines to move its crude
Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the European Union has worked hard to find alternatives to Russian energy. For decades and until the third quarter of 2022, Russia was the Union’s biggest oil supplier. It was the source of more than 25 percent of the EU’s hydrocarbon imports and was Germany’s largest overall energy supplier. Diversification has been no easy task given the scale of the dependency, but impressively, Russia’s share has been reduced to 10 percent.
The United States’ share has increased at Russia’s expense. Suppliers such as Kazakhstan, which account for 8 percent of the EU’s oil imports, have maintained their existing share but are eying a greater presence in the European market. Kazakhstan’s oil imports to the EU increased by nearly 900 percent between 2000 and 2021, and in recent years, it has become the third-largest supplier of oil to the European Union after Russia and Norway.