18:07 / 31.05.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

JANAF as an alternative to Druzhba enables agreement on oil embargo

JANAF facilities on the island of Krk

JANAF facilities on the island of Krk

Foto: Goran Kovacic / PIXSELL

The leaders of EU member states have reached an agreement on banning the import of Russian oil delivered by ships, and Hungary will be able to alternatively procure oil through Croatia in case of problems with the Druzhba oil pipeline.

The EU has reached an agreement to ban the import of Russian oil

“This is a real European compromise. Everyone got what they asked for. However, the ban on Russian oil has been implemented, at least for the most part. We can say that energy sanctions are milder than what the European Commission proposed a month ago. And that was a complete embargo on Russian oil by the end of the year. In addition to sanctions related to oil, the sanctions are also related to three large Russian banks, and the list of sanctioned persons has been expanded, including Alina Kabaeva, Vladimir Putin's alleged unmarried wife. Sanctions also affect Russian Patriarch Kirill,” said HRT reporter Jasna Paro in a report today.

She added that an agreement has been reached on a ban on the import of Russian oil by sea, and it concerns about 75% of European imports coming from tankers.

“The temporary exemption refers to the Druzhba oil pipeline coming through Ukraine. Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will get the opportunity to get cheap Russian oil for some time to come. Bulgaria has received an exemption from the maritime ban. Croatia is also exempt, for what was said to be eight months, in connection with the purchase of Russian vacuum gas oil, which is important for the Rijeka diesel refinery,” she added.

“At a meeting last night, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković offered Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic the use of the Adriatic oil pipeline,” Paro said, adding that "in a very short time it could be modernized and expanded to benefit those countries".

“It would be mutually beneficial, for these countries to get rid of dependence on Russian oil, but also for Croatia, which would thus strengthen its place on the energy map of Europe and become a kind of hub for the whole of Central Europe, which is undoubtedly the ambition of this Government,” said Prime Minister Plenković yesterday.

Von der Leyen: We can use the Adriatic oil pipeline in Croatia

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković explained at a meeting of EU leaders that JANAF could increase capacity by 30 per cent within 20 to 30 days, with investments of just eight million euros.

Plenković said that 11.4 million tons of crude oil passes through JANAF annually, and with a 30 percent increase, the capacity would increase to more than 15 million tons, so that Hungary and Slovakia could be supplied normally.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also dismissed speculation at a news conference Tuesday that Hungary could be dependent on Russian oil for years to come, saying Plenković said it could be supplied via the Adriatic pipeline.

Von der Leyen mentioned the deadline for increasing JANAF’s capacity from 45 to 60 days.

“In order to replace the Družba oil pipeline, through which Russian oil comes to Hungary, the Adriatic oil pipeline in Croatia can be used. Prime Minister Plenković told us last night about his capacity; it could supply non-Russian oil to Hungary. It takes between 45 and 60 days to increase capacity, which is a reasonable deadline,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Monday before the summit that the proposal to exempt oil imports from the import ban was a good approach, but that Hungary needed a guarantee that it would have secured oil imports in the event of an incident with the Druzhba pipeline.

Orban has dropped his veto almost a month after the Commission proposed a ban on Russian oil imports into the EU by the end of the year.

Sanctions also include the exclusion of Russia's largest bank from Swift, the international banking messaging system, and a ban on three Russian television stations. A decision was also made to sanction individuals responsible for war crimes.

About two-thirds of Russian oil is imported in EU tankers, and given that Germany and Poland have announced they will give up Russian oil completely by the end of the year, that means Russian oil imports will fall by 90 percent.

Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel also announced macroeconomic assistance to Ukraine of nine billion euros for the basic functioning of the state.

Source: HRT

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