The Hungarian oil and gas giant MOL and Hungary’s government expressed yesterday that Hungary’s oil supply remained uninterrupted despite the stoppage of the Druzhba pipeline after missiles hit its electricity supplier. However, an expert said Hungary had a limited amount of oil reserves. And it is yet a big question mark how long it would take to repair and reestablish operation on the pipeline.
“Delivery of crude via the pipeline has been halted for now, but the leaders of oil and gas company MOL have informed the government that Hungary’s oil supply is uninterrupted and will remain so in the longer term”, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Hungary’s minister of defence said yesterday evening. He talked to M1 TV channel after PM Orbán convened the country’s Defence Council.
Russia was targeting yesterday Ukraine’s electricity grids with multiple missiles. Some of them were shot down by the Ukrainian air defence, but many found their targets, causing devastating destruction in several cities, including the capital, Kyiv. Ukrainians say they shot down 73 out of the 90 fired, but one of the rockets hit the electricity supplier of the Druzhba pipeline, which delivers Russian crude to Europe.
The pipeline was cut after the strike, so Hungary will get no Russian oil via Ukraine. Moreover, the suspension affects even Slovakia and the Czech Republic. To make matters worse, one of the missiles hit Polish territory, killing two.
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Tamás Pletser, an Erste analyst of the oil and gas market, told index.hu that such an attack was part of the package. That is because Russians have been attacking Ukrainian critical infrastructure for weeks. Compressors and pumps work with electricity keeping the oil flowing in a given direction. Without them, the operation is impossible. The question is the extent of the damage, Mr Pletser highlighted.
He added that the shutdown affected three refineries:
- Dunai Refinery (Százhalombatta, Hungary)
- Bratislava Refinery (Slovakia)
- PKN Orlen’s Refinery in the Czech Republic.
All refineries have a reserve for one month. If that runs out, the countries can open their strategic reserves. That is enough for 90 days. Problems emerge after that point. If that reserve runs out too, the Hungarian oil and gas giant, MOL, will get supply via the Adriatic pipeline.
However, that cannot provide sufficient supply for the Hungarian refinery. MOL is currently working on reducing its dependence on Russian oil by 60-70 percent. But that will take 2-4 years and 500-700 million euros.
Therefore, it is crucial for the MOL and all the other refineries to mend the damage to the pipeline as soon as possible. Ukraine’s revenue from oil transfer is significant. But there may be a point when they put their own needs in the first place, Pletser said.
Read alsoWhat now? Budapest’s electricity in trouble
Source: index.hu, MTI
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