Warsaw, Poland – Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary are tapping into their strategic oil reserves, Reuters reported citing industry sources.
The three countries will offer their domestic refiners up to 8 million barrels to compensate for the temporary halt of imports from Russia.
Last week, the three Central European countries were forced to suspend their imports from Russia running through the Druzhba pipeline after the oil, as reported by the Belorussian authorities, was contaminated by chemicals used in extracting crude from old wells that could possibly damage refinery equipment.
According to The Moscow Times, Russian authorities have accused a private local firm of deliberately contaminating the flows in the pipeline system. The Russian Energy Ministry assured that oil quality at the Russian Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga would go back to normal by May 7.
The Druzhba pipeline, which runs through Belarus and Ukraine, is separated into a northern route, supplying Poland and Germany, and a southern leg for deliveries to refineries in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Both Germany and Slovakia, also directly concerned by the halt in Russian oil imports through the pipeline that carries up to one million barrels per day, have yet to decide whether to tap into their strategic oil reserves, according to Reuters.
This incident, which caused a major disruption in supplies from the the world’s second largest exporter, sparked a significant hike in crude oil prices and highlighted Central Europe’s continued reliance on Russia for its energy needs.
“It poses a huge problem for European refineries dependent on Russian pipeline flows”, argued Amrita Sen from the Energy Aspects think tank. “While this looks like a one-off, it does raise the question of the need to look for alternative suppliers as a back-up”.
In order to protect our website’s independence and survival, a little funding here and there can go a long way to help us manage the site, pay our writers and pursue our mission promoting free and qualitative journalism in Central Europe! If you’d like to support us, it’s right here!