Within the new package of energy sanctions against Russia, the European Union will allow Serbia to import Russian crude oil for NIS’ oil refinery in Pancevo through Croatian JANAF pipeline, as a concession in order to maintain energy stability in the Western Balkans.
The EU’s proposal for the new package of sanctions against Russia also includes setting a price cap on Russian crude oil and sanctions for companies that transport Russian crude oil to non- EU countries.
However, in order to protect the maritime transport industry in the EU, a derogation is provided for tankers registered in EU countries for the transport of Russian crude oil for customers in non-EU countries. Tankers from EU countries will be able to transport Russian oil only if the price of that oil is at the level of the capped price set by the EU and its partners, or below that price.
Mechanisms for control that could be used to determine the purchase price of crude oil are also foreseen. Transporting crude oil above that price would be illegal.
This exemption is important in order for the package of new sanctions to be acceptable to countries like Greece and Cyprus, whose tankers also depend on the transportation of commodities to the international market outside the EU.
Last month, Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlovic said that Serbia has secured the replacement for Russian crude oil, which it will not be able to import as of 1 November due to western sanctions. She said that, as of 1 November, Serbia will primarily import Kirkuk oil, followed by oil from domestic production which covers some 20 % of the demand, as well as oil from Iran and other sources.
Last year, Russian crude oil represented only 25 % of total amount processed in Pancevo refinery. However, since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the share of Russian crude jumped to 55 % because it is cheaper.