On Monday, the leaders of the European Council announced that the European Union would ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year.
Russian oil delivered by tankers will be banned, while an exemption will be made for the southern segment of the Druzhba pipeline, reported European Council President Ursula von der Leyen.
The northern segment of the pipeline serves Poland and Germany, with both countries agreeing to the embargo. The southern part goes to Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic. Von der Leyen said an exception was made for the southern segment of the pipeline, which accounts for 10% of imports on Russian oil.
“We have a clear political statement by Poland and Germany that they will wind down Russian oil imports until the end of the year. We have covered 90% of Russian oil being wound down during this time frame. Leftover is the roundabout 10 or 11% that is covered by southern Druzhba pipeline. We have agreed for the moment an exemption,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said.
EU leaders are scheduled to meet again on Thursday to discuss details of the oil embargo and other sanctions.
The European Council has agreed that the sixth package of sanctions against Russia will cover crude oil, as well as petroleum products, delivered from Russia into member states, with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline.
The European Council will consider the issue of the temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline again as soon as possible.
Alternatives to Russian supply
Von der Leyen said it would be possible to increase usage of the Adria oil pipeline in Croatia to supply oil to Hungary without Russia. She added that Hungary’s refineries would need to be updated to accommodate oil from Croatia, which would also allow Hungary to decrease its Russian oil imports.
“It is a big step forward what we did today,” von der Leyen said. “Because we have now gotten rid of coal – and this was already very difficult. Now we basically have the political agreement, how to phase out oil in a clear timeframe.”
Earlier this month when the European Union proposed a ban on Russian oil imports, it stopped short of sanctioning Russia’s natural gas exports. According to Rystad Energy, Russia’s natural gas exports are predicted to generate about $79 billion in tax revenues for Moscow this year.
Russia recently stopped supplying gas to several European countries, including the Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Bulgaria. The move came after those countries refused to accept payment for the gas in rubles.