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According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), in December the import of Russian oil into the European Union decreased compared to November by 270,000 barrels per day to 900,000 barrels, BNR reported.

The decline is a result of the embargo on Russian oil imported by sea that came into force on December 5, as well as the price ceiling of $60 per barrel imposed by the G-7.

160,000 barrels of the total 230,000 barrels of Russian oil exported per day by sea were imported into Bulgaria, which benefits from an exception to the embargo.

One tanker has arrived in Italy, and two others - in the Netherlands, although since January Russian oil by sea has the right to import only our country, adds the international agency.

As another measure against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a ban on the import of Russian petroleum products, including diesel, will come into effect on February 5.

The export of Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline, which starts from Russia and branches in two directions, does not fall under the embargo.

The northern direction passes through Belarus and Poland and reaches Germany, and the southern direction crosses Ukraine and Slovakia and reaches Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Germany's Lojna and Shved refineries, which are connected to the pipeline, stopped buying Russian oil at the end of 2022. However, Germany plans to import 30,000 barrels a day from Kazakhstan through the pipeline.

This means that Druzhba volumes will drop by about 330,000 barrels to 360,000 barrels per day, and the share of Russian oil in European imports will fall to just 5 percent from 27-30 percent before the start of the war.

In December, Russian oil exports to India hit new records of 1.4 million barrels per day, while volumes to China, by sea and by pipeline, remained largely unchanged at 1.9 million barrels per day, IEA data showed.

Exports to Turkey fell by 200,000 barrels to a multi-month low of just 45,000 barrels.

Azerbaijan's state-owned company SOCAR announced last month that it had stopped buying Russian oil for its Turkish refinery.

In December, the first shipment of oil in seven months headed for Japan from the Sakhalin-2 complex, which is partly owned by Japanese companies and does not fall under the price ceiling set by the G7.

The total import of Russian oil into the EU - by sea and by pipelines - fell by 1.6 million barrels in December compared to February.

Instead, the EU is betting on increased imports from the Middle East, West Africa, Norway, Brazil and Guyana, according to the IEA report.

The USA and Kazakhstan are also potential alternatives, the IEA points out.

Kazakhstan reached a preliminary deal with Moscow to export oil to Germany through Russian pipelines.

In December, Norway increased the production capacity of the largest field in Western Europe, Johan Sverdrup, to 720,000 barrels per day from the previous 535,000 barrels.

"This is good news for European refineries, as oil from "Johan Sverdrup" is the best alternative to the Russian Urals variety," says the IEA.