EU benefits from cheap Russian oil – The Economist – RT Business News

Russia’s oil supply to the European Union increased by 14% between January and April, from 750,000 to 857,000 barrels per day, The Economist reported on Wednesday, citing data from Argus Media. It comes as Brussels has called for a complete halt to energy imports from the country.

According to the report, the latest EU embargo on Russian oil only applies to crude oil and petroleum products transported by sea, so far covering only 75% of imports from Moscow. Oil supplied by pipeline to a handful of central and eastern European countries is temporarily exempt, he said. “Refiners in these countries are buying cheap Russian crude that most Western buyers avoid.”

Germany is the only destination country to have reduced imports through Russia’s Druzhba pipeline since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, according to the data. Druzhba, which is one of the longest and largest pipeline networks in the world, transports oil some 4,000 kilometers from the eastern part of European Russia to refineries in the Czech Republic, Germany, from Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. In January, Berlin received half of Druzhba’s oil, and in April, only a third.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia say they favor a possible ban on imports via Druzhba, but want an adjustment period of two to three years. Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has opposed a complete ban on Russian oil imports, saying it would lower “atomic bomb” on the economy of his country.

According to The Economist report, there are “little financial incentive for refiners to abandon Russian supply”, while Urals crude trades considerably below the international benchmark Brent. Refiners importing through the pipeline bought it at a discount of up to $40 a barrel to North Sea oil last month, according to data from Argus Media.

“EU leaders are insisting that the Druzhba exemption be reconsidered. In the meantime, the pipeline looks set to test European friendships,” says the report.

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