The European Union leaders agreed to cut Russian crude oil imports by as much as 90 percent by the end of the year. The agreement is in principle, and details would still need to be clarified.
Per a Reuters report, some 65 percent of Russian oil exports to the European Union reach the continent by tankers, with the rest flowing via the Druzhba pipeline. By the end of the year, Germany and Poland have agreed to stop buying Russian crude from the Druzhba pipeline, which would bring the amount of embargoed Russian oil to 90 percent of the total.
The embargo seeks to first target tanker shipments, which will put those EU members who get their Russian oil this way in a difficult position. For the time being, there is no clarity as to how these EU members will be compensated.
Meanwhile, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia will be exempt from the embargo, leaving 10 percent of usual Russian oil flows in place. There was no mention of Bulgaria in the Reuters report, but the southern European state was also part of the group of countries opposing any embargo that could threaten the security of its oil supply.
The European Commission proposed a full oil embargo against Russia in early May as part of its latest sanction package. Hungary, however, immediately and quite vocally opposed it, arguing it would need hundreds of millions of dollars to transform its pipeline and refinery industry. The Central European state relies on Russia for more than 80 percent of its oil.
The following weeks saw active discussions as more EU members heavily reliant on Russian oil followed Hungary’s example, with Bulgaria threatening a veto on any embargo proposal unless it received an extension to reduce and eventually eliminate Russian oil imports.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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