Region, EU to exempt Druzhba pipeline from Russian oil embargo

, SEE Energy News

Representatives from the 27 EU member states will examine a compromise that could enable them to break the deadlock on a sixth round of economic sanctions against Russia, including a halt to Russian oil imports.

The latest round of proposed sanctions has been blocked by landlocked Hungary, which has no access to seafaring oil cargo ships and is dependent for 65 % of its oil needs on Russian crude supplied via the Druzhba pipeline.

Hungary has rejected as inadequate a proposal to allow it two years longer than other EU states to wean itself off Russian oil. It wants at least four years and at least 800 million euros in EU funds to adapt its refineries to process non-Russian crude and boost pipeline capacity to neighboring Croatia.

According to unofficial sources, the compromise solution consists in excluding the Druzhba pipeline from a future oil embargo and only imposing sanctions on oil shipped to the EU by tanker vessel. The Druzhba pipeline accounts for a third of all EU oil supplies from Russia. Maritime cargos account for the remaining two thirds.

The compromise was tabled by France, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, and by the European Council.

Its aim is to break a stalemate that has, since early May, prevented the EU from imposing a sixth round of sanctions on Moscow over its war in Ukraine. It would end the purchases of Russian crude within six months and Russian petroleum products by the end of the year. It would also impose additional sanctions on Russian banks and expand the list of Russian individuals blacklisted by the bloc.

Another option under consideration would be to postpone the entire package of new sanctions until a solution can be found to provide Hungary with alternative oil supplies.

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