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Allegations That Russian Rocket Drove Disruption At Druzhba Oil Pipeline

Supply of Russian crude oil via the Druzhba pipeline to some countries in eastern and central Europe was suspended late on Tuesday, sending oil prices higher.

Early on Wednesday, oil prices were down, weighed by a firmer U.S. dollar and rising Covid cases in China, which, despite a recent easing of some measures, continues to adhere to a strict Covid-curbing policy.

Oil prices settled higher on Tuesday after the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a large draw for crude oil of 5.835 million barrels - more than undoing the build reported last week.

Another bullish factor was the temporary suspension of oil deliveries via the Druzhba oil pipeline from Russia to parts of Eastern Europe.

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Supply was disrupted to Hungary and Slovakia, according to the local pipeline operators.

In Hungary, local group MOL said on Tuesday it had been notified by Ukraine that oil supply to Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic via the Druzhba pipeline was temporarily suspended. The Ukrainian partner told MOL a power station in Ukraine close to the Belarus border was hit by a Russian rocket, Reuters reported. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban convened a meeting of the country’s defense council.

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Slovakian operator Transpetrol also said supply via Druzhba was suspended, citing “technical reasons on the Ukrainian side.”   

“The reason for the suspension of supplies has not yet been officially confirmed by the Ukrainian side,” the Slovakian firm said in a statement carried by Reuters. Transpetrol expects to soon have more information about what caused the temporary suspension of oil supply. 

The operators in Poland and the Czech Republic said they had not seen disruptions to supply so far.

The partial suspension of Russian oil supply via the Druzhba pipeline comes as Russia on Tuesday hit Ukraine with the heaviest missile strikes on cities and energy infrastructure since the start of the war, and as a rocket hit a Polish village close to the Ukrainian border, killing two people, in an incident that put Poland and its NATO allies on high alert.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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