The UK sharply reduced oil imports from Russia in the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine, according to official figures.

However, new data from the Office for National Statistics showed the UK still imported about £140 million of Russian refined oil in April, two months after the war in Ukraine began.

The ONS said this represented a slump from about £410 million of refined oil imported from Russia in February, when Russia had been the UK’s biggest supplier.

Two months later, Russia was the UK’s sixth biggest supplier as the UK increased its supply from other countries including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Belgium.

(PA Graphics)(PA Graphics)

Refined oil includes petrol, diesel and heating oil, which have all seen prices spike following the conflict.

The UK has said it will stop important petrol and diesel from Russia by the end of this year.

Other countries have also acted with sanction plans to reduce imports from Russia, most notably with the EU confirming a complete import ban on all Russian seaborne crude oil and and petroleum products.

This helped UK exports of both crude and refined oil to the EU to grow to record levels in both March and April, when they were worth £2.3 billion and £2.4 billion respectively.

In 2021, total UK oil exports struck £28.3 billion for the year, with the Netherlands, China and South Korea purchasing the most from the UK.

Meanwhile, total imports hit £30 billion for the year.

The ONS said this included £17.6 billion in imported crude oil, with almost half of this coming from Norway.

The new data also showed that the UK spent £19.6 billion on gas imports in 2021, representing a 312% surge from £4.8 billion in the previous year, driven by rocketing prices.

Meanwhile, the UK exported about £3.4 billion worth of gas, representing a 167% annual increase.