Transpetrol: oil supplies to the Czech Republic via the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline will not be resumed

PRAGUE, 10 Aug — Oil supplies to the Czech Republic via the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline will not resume, Linda Vashkovichova, assistant to the head of Transpetrol, told reporters.

“The supply (of oil) to the Czech Republic will not be renewed,” she said.

At the same time, Vashkovichova did not give any further details.

In turn, the head of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade, Josef Sikela, said that Prague and Warsaw are jointly looking for a supply solution that will suit the parties from a legal and technical point of view. Polish company PKN Orlen owns the largest oil refineries in the Czech Republic.

Sikela also assured that the Czech Republic has strategic oil reserves for about 90 days.

Transneft confirmed the day before that Ukrtransnafta on August 4 stopped pumping oil from Russia through the southern branch of the Druzhba pipeline to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as the Russian side cannot make a transit payment under EU sanctions.

On August 10, it became known that the Hungarian company MOL and the Slovak refinery Slovnaft agreed with the Ukrainian side to resume supplies and paid transit costs. Oil again began to flow through the pipeline.

The Druzhba oil pipeline starts in the Samara region, passes through Bryansk and then branches into two sections: the northern one, which goes through the territory of Belarus, Poland and Germany, and the southern one, through Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Pumping through the pipeline in 2019 amounted to 42.3 million tons, including 3.8 million tons to the Czech Republic, five million to Slovakia, and 4.1 million tons to Hungary. In 2021, Transneft reduced transportation to 35.9 million tons. It was predicted that in 2022, supplies will increase to 45.5 million tons.

In May, after Budapest announced that it was impossible to completely abandon Russian gas, Olena Zerkal, adviser to the Minister of Energy of Ukraine, said that Kyiv had leverage on Hungary in the form of transit through Druzhba, with which “something could happen.” In turn, Advisor to the Hungarian Prime Minister Balazs Orban noted that the EU countries guaranteed Budapest the possibility of offshore oil supplies from Russia if pumping through the Druzhba stops.

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