Oil wells in Baku on March 19, 2019 (AFP/Mladen ANTONOV)
Deliveries of Russian oil via Ukraine to three European countries have been halted after a bank transaction related to sanctions against Moscow was rejected, the Russian company in charge of transporting hydrocarbons said on Tuesday.
In a press release, Transneft states that its payment for August’s transit right through Ukraine, made on July 22, was denied on July 28 due to the entry into force of certain sanctions against Moscow.
As a result, the Ukrainian company UkrTransNafta “since August 4 has stopped providing services for the transportation of oil through Ukrainian territory,” Transneft said.
These are deliveries via a branch of the Druzhba pipeline, which runs through Ukraine and serves three European countries without access to the sea, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Deliveries to Poland and Germany via another Druzhba branch, which runs through Belarus, “are continuing as usual,” Transneft said.
The transport of oil through the Druzhba pipeline has been suspended for several days, but the Slovnaft refinery in Bratislava continues to work and supply the market, spokesman for the Slovak company Anton Molnar assured in a press release.
“According to our information, there have been technical problems at the banking level related to the payment of transit fees on the Russian side,” he said.
According to him, Slovnaft has started talks with Ukraine and Russia about a possibility that the Hungarian MOL refinery and Slovnaft will pay transit fees, which would allow oil supplies to resume.
Despite the Russian military offensive there since late February, Russian oil and gas continue to flow through Ukraine to the European Union, several members of which are heavily dependent on hydrocarbons from Moscow.
In June, the EU decided on a gradual embargo for Russian oil, which in particular provides for the cessation of crude oil imports by ship within six months.
However, supplies via the Druzhba pipeline continued “temporarily” without notice, a concession won by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who maintains ties with Vladimir Putin and on whom the country is 65% dependent. on his consumption of this cheap Russian oil.
Since the conflict in Ukraine, European countries have been trying to reduce their energy dependency on Russia and accuse Moscow of using its hydrocarbon supplies as a “weapon of war”.
Russia has therefore sharply reduced its gas supplies to Europe in recent weeks.