Russia says it received $3.6 billion less than it forecast from March oil and gas sales, suggesting the Ukraine war and Western sanctions hit exports

Russian oil and gas exports in March were way below the official forecast.Daniel Reinhardt/Picture Alliance via Getty Images, Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

  • Russia said Tuesday that state revenue from energy sales in March was $3.6 billion less than it forecast.

  • Russia forecast energy revenue of 790 billion rubles ($9.4 billion) but received around 488 billion rubles, a miss of 38%.

  • Western nations have been switching away from Russian energy supplies in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

Russia made considerably less money than forecast from oil and gas sales in March, suggesting that the Kremlin underestimated the impact of the Ukraine war.

Revenue from oil and gas sales in March was 302 billion rubles ($3.6 billion), or 38%, lower than Russia’s finance ministry forecast on March 3, according to data from the ministry, published Tuesday.

Russia is a leading oil supplier and the world’s top gas exporter, and Europe typically gets about 40% of its natural gas from Russia. However, European and other Western nations have been switching away from Russian supplies in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

Russia’s finance ministry forecast on March 3 that the country would make around 790 billion rubles in revenue from oil and natural gas sales in March. The actual figure was closer to 488 billion rubles.

The finance ministry pointed to lower-than-expected natural gas exports in March and changes to energy tax rules.

It also said that in February, its oil and gas revenues were 216.4 billion rubles lower than expected. However, it said it expected to earn 798.4 billion rubles in additional revenue from energy sales in April.

President Joe Biden has pledged to ban Russian energy imports and the European Commission has said it could reduce EU demand for Russian gas by two-thirds before the end of the year, under a plan to diversify supplies. The US has offered to ship more liquefied natural gas to its allies to help squeeze Russian exports.

Over the weekend, Lithuania became the first EU country to completely cut off Russian gas imports, Dainius Kreivys, its energy minister, said.

In 2021, just over a quarter of Lithuania’s gas supply came from Russia, according to Amber Grid, the country’s pipeline operator. Kreivys said the country would plug the gap with liquefied natural gas imports from the US and Norway, Bloomberg reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia is working on requiring “unfriendly countries” to pay for its gas in rubles, which European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said would be a “clear breach of contract” and an attempt to circumvent sanctions imposed by the West.

Shortly after war broke out, Germany halted plans for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is designed to carry gas between Russia and mainland Europe. On Monday, Germany said it had seized control of a local Gazprom unit.

Shell said earlier that it was pulling out from its joint ventures with Gazprom and related businesses while BP said it was dumping its 20% stake in the Russian state-backed oil firm Rosneft.

Western sanctions imposed on Russia could wipe out 15 years of economic growth in the country and send inflation skyrocketing.

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