Three Central European Countries Without Russian Oil

Three Central European Countries Without Russian Oil

An engineer from the Hungarian Oil and Gas Company (MOL) checks an oil pipeline at the Szazhalombatta oil refinery south of Budapest, Hungary January 9, 2007. An engineer from the Hungarian Oil and Gas Company (MOL) checks an oil pipeline at the Szazhalombatta oil refinery south of Budapest, Hungary, January 9, 2007. BELA SZANDELSZKY/AP

The war of nerves continues in Europe on the Russian energy supply front. This time, and this is where several European Union countries have already suspended supplies, it is oil supplies – going through Ukraine – to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic that have been suspended since August 4th. This cautionary tale comes from the Russian company responsible for transporting hydrocarbons.

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In a statement Tuesday, August 9, Transneft justified the suspension by saying its payment for transit rights through Ukraine for the month of August had been withheld due to Western sanctions against Russia. According to Transneft, if these deliveries are affected, those going through Belarus to Germany and Poland via another branch of the same Druzhba pipeline will continue “normally”.


While the European Union has pledged to cut its oil imports from Russia by 90% by the end of the year, these three countries, which have no access to the sea and are heavily dependent on this black gold, have responded to pressure from Brussels’ Viktor Orban , the Hungarian Prime Minister, who is close to Vladimir Putin, to exempt their shipments through this pipeline from sanctions.

In the face of this latest shock, these three countries have nonetheless started negotiations with the stakeholders concerned to resume supplies. “The next few days will show whether it is a further escalation of the energy war by Russia or a technical problem with payments,” Jozef Sikela, the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, said on Twitter. Oil reserves are stored at the Czech pipeline operator Mero, which should make it possible to cover the supply gap at least until the second half of August. “We also have strategic supplies that last almost ninety days. We will not activate them now,” he added.

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In Slovakia, too, the spokesman for the Slovnaft refinery wanted to calm down. He said that despite the situation, the plant has not shut down operations so far. And that his group, in cooperation with the Hungarian oil and gas company MOL, has also started talks with Ukraine and Russia, including in particular the payment of transit costs with a view to resuming forwarding.

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