Studie: Oil Profits in Times of War

An EU-wide analysis of higher margins on the sale of diesel and petrol since the beginning of the Ukraine war

A few days after the launch of Russia’s war against Ukraine on Febru- ary 24, there was a massive increase in gas station prices in the EU. They quickly climbed to unprecedented levels. Diesel prices jumped above €2.30/litre (diesel) in some EU countries in March.

Refinery profits also surged in March. The IEA/KBC Refinery Indicator shows how average refinery margins multiplied in just a few weeks. Margins were even higher for Russian Urals Crude, the most important crude stream in the EU, as it could only be sold at deep discounts sin- ce the start of the war (source: IEA: Oil Market Report, March 2022, Paris 2022).

These trends indicate that gas station prices have moved far away from their main cost base, i.e. from crude oil prices. The accusation of „windfall profits“, „war profits“ or „extra profits“ is in the air.

Our short study makes an attempt to quantify these extra revenues of the oil industry: Per litre and for total fuel sales in the EU.

Download: Study (pdf, 1 MB)