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G7 nations vow to expedite efforts to curb Russian oil, coal dependence


Japan's first commitment to curb Russian commodity imports

G7 leaders promise additional sanctions, enforcement measures

  • Author
  • Meghan Gordon    Takeo Kumagai
  • Editor
  • Aastha Agnihotri
  • Commodity
  • Coal Oil Shipping

G7 nations aim to expedite efforts to cut reliance on Russian energy, including phasing out and banning Russian coal imports and cutting Russian oil dependency, leaders said in a joint statement April 7.

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It marked Japan's first commitment to curb any commodity imports from Russia, the country's third-largest coal supplier in 2021 after Australia and Indonesia.

The G7 leaders -- representing Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US -- said they would continue working to "ensure stable and sustainable global energy supplies, including by accelerating reduction of our overall reliance on fossil fuels and our transition to clean energy."

The leaders promised to impose additional sanctions on Russia's defense sector, after G7 foreign ministers released a statement earlier April 7 stressing the need to further increase economic pressure on Russia and Belarus in response to the Ukraine invasion.

"We will intensify our collective implementation and enforcement of existing measures, including by strengthening our national enforcement authorities and working with our partners to prevent 'sanctions busting' through evasion, circumvention and backfilling," the G7 leaders' statement said.

Japan, EU reliance

Japan imported 19.734 million mt of Russian coal in 2021, or 11% of the country's total imports of 182.629 million mt, according to the finance ministry data.

Russia supplied 4% of Japan's total crude oil imports of 2.48 million b/d in 2021, with the Middle East supplying 92% of the inflows, the data showed.

The European Commission has proposed a ban on imports of Russian coal and on Russian shipping from EU ports and said it is "working" on curbing Russian oil exports as calls to hit Moscow's key energy export gain traction.

The measures, which follow reports of war crimes attributed to Russia in Ukraine and follow four successive rounds of sanctions, sidestep any immediate plan for a ban on imports of Russian crude and oil products, despite growing calls from some member states to hit Moscow's oil exports.

About 2 million b/d of Russian crude and 700,000 b/d of its oil product exports have already been disrupted as a result of refiners and traders "self-sanctioning," according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

The EU is particularly dependent on Russian oil and was importing about 2.7 million b/d of crude and another 1.5 million b/d products, mostly diesel, before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.