Hungarian vitality firm MOL has paid oil transit charges to Ukraine on behalf of a Kremlin-controlled firm so as to restart flows of crude alongside a crucial provide route from Russia to Europe.
The southern department of the Druzhba pipeline, which transports Russian oil throughout Ukraine to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, stopped pumping six days in the past after Russian state-owned pipeline operator Transneft stated it was unable to pay transit charges to Kyiv due to sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
The Hungarian cost is aimed toward ending a stand-off that had threatened crude provides to central Europe. It has highlighted the difficulties that EU international locations face in in search of to punish Moscow for its assault on Ukraine whereas additionally limiting the injury to their very own economies.
The European Commission, the EU’s government arm, stated it was “in close contact with the concerned member states and Ukraine on this matter”.
“In general, the sanctions adopted by the European Union foresee an exemption allowing transactions with certain state-owned enterprises if they are strictly necessary for the direct or indirect purchase, import or transport of oil,” stated Arianna Podesta, a fee spokesperson, including that Transneft was certainly one of these enterprises.
MOL declined to answer a query from the FT concerning how Transneft would repay the Hungarian firm for making the cost on its behalf or particulars of any future funds. The firm stated flows of Russian crude to Hungary had been anticipated to be restored on Thursday.
“The technical issue behind the delay was resolved thanks to quick action by MOL: the company transferred the transit fee due for the use of the Ukrainian section of the pipeline, after which the Ukrainian party restarted the transport of crude oil on the Southern section of the pipeline, as promised,” the corporate stated in an announcement.
The Hungarian firm blamed “technical issues emerging on the banking front” for the stoppage.
Transneft pays Ukraine’s state-owned UkrTransNafta to make use of the pipeline, however stated on Tuesday that the European banks that course of the cost had not acquired the required approvals, including that EU regulators “have yet to form a common position” on how or whether or not the banks ought to permit the transactions.
Transneft confirmed on Wednesday that the funds from MOL to Ukraine had been processed. “We are preparing to resume pumping,” spokesperson Igor Dyomin instructed the Financial Times.
Slovaft, the Slovakian firm that can be equipped by the pipeline, stated on Wednesday afternoon that Russian crude oil “is already arriving again in Slovakia through the Druzhba pipeline”.
Slovaft attributed the shutdown to “technical problems at the bank level” to pay the charges. It stated it had been ready to attract on oil reserves in order that manufacturing at its Bratislava refinery continued.
Two Czech refineries owned by Orlen additionally maintained their operations by counting on different sources of oil, the corporate stated on Wednesday.
Additional reporting by Raphael Minder in Warsaw and Tom Wilson in London