The dirtiest of fossil fuels is coal, which is widely used on the continent. Although many countries are beginning to phase out this energy source, and production levels drop to historic lows, there are still numerous nations reliant on coal. Poland and Germany for example are the biggest producers of coal in Europe.
The most consumed fossil fuel for primary energy is oil, which is mainly used for fueling transportation such as cars and planes. The European Union’s biggest exporter of oil is Russia, with a share of almost 30 percent of total crude oil imports. This was followed by nearby Norway.
Both these nations are also major exporters of natural gas to the EU. Vast quantities of imports are distributed via pipelines, with Germany being an especially dependent nation for gas imports. One of the main exporters of natural gas to the EU is the Russian state-owned Gazprom.
Europe is home to some of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies, such as British Petroleum in the United Kingdom and Royal Dutch-Shell in the Netherlands. These two companies are amongst the top 10 oil and natural gas companies in the world, with a combined revenue of almost 700 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, making them the largest European companies in the same year. In 2020, BP set an ambitious target to shrink the firm’s carbon footprint to net zero by 2050.