War in Ukraine has reshaped global energy markets

Nearly a year after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, the ongoing war has accelerated a European shift away from Russia’s fuel supplies, invigorated nuclear power in the region, isolated Russian President Vladimir Putin on the global stage and anchored a booming export business for U.S. gas companies.

The war has also generated massive profits for oil companies while raising fuel and living costs worldwide, which ironically could help speed efforts to address climate change, particularly in developing nations.

“We’ve seen record windfall profits from the oil and gas companies. That’s been delivered because of the supply shock of there being a lot less oil that people can buy,” Rob Schuwerk, North America director at financial think tank Carbon Tracker, said in an interview. “It has also intensified the race for local supply of energy,” he said. “In the long-term, that’s going to benefit renewables, which are inherently a local source of energy.”

The global oil and gas industry made a record $4 trillion in profits in 2022, according to Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency.

Since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, some European countries, such as Germany, which is reopening once-closed coal mines, have turned to fossil energy to fill short-term needs once occupied by Russian gas. Before the war, about half of the monthly gas supply flowing to the European Union was from Russia. Now, that figure has dropped below 20 percent and could be zero by year’s end.