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Russia Set To Resume Pipeline Oil Exports Via Ukraine

Russia is expected to resume oil exports to Europe via Ukraine today, after transit was halted on August 4 because of issues with payments of the transit fees for this month, Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Russian oil exports through the Druzhba pipeline via Ukraine were suspended in early August due to a problem with transit fee payments, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Tuesday, quoting a statement from Transneft.

The southern leg of the Druzhba oil pipeline from Russia to Europe passes through Ukraine on its way to refineries in Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. The northern branch of the pipeline crosses Belarus and ships oil to Poland and Germany. Oil transit from Russia via the northern leg of the Druzhba pipeline has continued uninterrupted, Interfax says.

Transneft said on Tuesday the reason for the suspension of pipeline oil exports via Ukraine was that a payment it had made to Ukraine’s Ukrtransnafta on July 22 for the transit fees for August didn’t go through and was returned to Transneft’s account on July 28.

“The situation is complicated because European regulators haven’t come up yet with a unified position on how banks should act in various jurisdictions, and they haven’t developed a process to issue permits, either,” Transneft said, as quoted by Interfax.

According to Russian media today, Hungary and Slovakia paid Ukraine for the transit fees.

Oil pumping via the Druzhba pipeline could resume within a few hours, Slovakia’s Minister of Economy, Richard Sulík, said on Wednesday, as carried by Reuters.

Slovakia’s Slovnaft and Hungary’s MOL paid Ukraine the transit fees for August for the Ukrainian section of the Druzhba pipeline as a temporary solution after the Russian payment to Ukraine via Western banks bounced because of the sanctions on Russia.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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