EU state sharply increases import share of Russian oil
The Czech Republic’s imports of Russian oil surged sharply in the first half of this year despite the EU country’s plans to wean itself off supply from Russia, state oil pipeline operator Mero revealed on Monday.
Russian oil made up 65% of the Czech Republic’s total oil imports in the first six months of 2023, sharply up from 56% for the entire year in 2022 and 49% in 2021.
Even with the EU’s sweeping sanctions on Russia, the Czech Republic recorded its highest intake of Russian oil since 2012, importing crude via the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline, according to Mero’s spokesperson, Barbora Putzova.
“The share of oil imports from Russia versus imports from other countries in the first six months of this year was, rounded up, 65.35%,” Mero said.
Oil supply to the Czech Republic primarily comes from two sources – via the Druzhba pipeline, which carries oil from Russia, and through the IKL pipeline from Germany, which is connected to the TAL pipeline from Italy.
Prague has received an exemption from EU sanctions because it cannot cover its needs of around 7 million metric tons per year from the alternative route via the IKL and TAL pipelines.
While the EU banned seaborne oil imports from Russia last December, pipeline deliveries have received temporary exemptions from the embargo.
Druzhba, one of the longest pipeline networks in the world, carries crude some 4,000km from Russia to refineries in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.
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