The Croatian government is ready to expand the capacity of the Adria oil pipeline to ensure that oil reaches Hungary in emergency situations.
European Union leaders have agreed on an embargo on Russian crude oil imports that will take full effect by the end of this year, but Hungary – and two other landlocked Central European states – secured exemptions for the pipeline imports they rely on. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán hailed the opt-out as a triumph for his country arguing that phasing out Russian crude would have devastating consequences in Hungary.
Hungary imports 65 per cent of its oil from Russia via the Friendship pipeline which passes through Ukraine. Earlier, the CEO of Hungary’s biggest oil and gas company, MOL said that if Russian oil would stop flowing through the Friendship pipeline, MOL couldn’t physically ensure the current consumption levels with products imported from elsewhere.
After the announcement of the EU oil embargo, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said that Hungary must prepare for all scenarios, including a situation when deliveries through the Friendship pipeline will stop. He noted that they have already heard that Ukraine threatened to stop transits.
This week the Hungarian Foreign Minister spoke with Croatian Energy Minister Davor Filipovic. During his visit, he confirmed that Hungary’s supplies are now secure, but underlined that the diversity of supply resources remains key to maintaining energy security. The minister pointed out that in case oil from the East stops coming into Hungary, they will count on the Southern supply route as an alternative source for additional oil imports. This requires the expansion of the Adria oil pipeline.
Commenting on the oil embargo, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that Croatia needs up to 60 days to increase the capacity of the pipeline. Then, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that the capacity of the pipeline could be expanded by 30 per cent within 20 to 30 days through an investment of 8 million euros.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister and the Croatian Energy Minister confirmed after their meeting that Croatia is ready to increase the capacity of the Adria oil pipeline to ensure energy security in the region.