MOSCOW, (Reuters) – Russia has successfully redirected all its crude oil exports affected by Western sanctions over Ukraine to “friendly” countries, Energy Minister Nikolai Shulginov said on Tuesday, while still a decline in oil and gas output this year.
The West imposed wide-ranging sanctions, including an embargo on seaborne Russian oil imports, after Moscow sent its armed forces into Ukraine in February 2022.
“I can say today that we have managed to completely redirect the entire volume of exports affected by the embargo. There was no decrease in sales,” Shulginov told an energy forum.
Shulginov reiterated that Russian oil and gas production was expected to decline in 2023, as Moscow comes under pressure from Western restrictions and a lack of European buyers.
Speaking at the same event, Alexander Dyukov, CEO of Russian oil major Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM), said that 2023 would be more difficult than 2022 and the pressure from sanctions would grow.
Shulginov said Russia had been working to reroute its oil and oil product exports to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East from its traditional markets in Europe.
India was the biggest buyer of Russia’s benchmark Urals grade crude in March. Deliveries to India are set to account for more than 50% of all seaborne Urals exports this month, with China in second place.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said Russian oil sales to India jumped 22-fold last year, but he did not specify the volume sold.
Novak said energy revenues accounted for 42% of Russia’s federal budget in 2022, up from 36% in 2021. He said Russia’s energy industry was sustainable, despite the challenge of Western sanctions
He said Russia needed to focus on boosting energy exports to so-called “friendly” countries and would continue developing the insurance tools needed to support this trade.