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Hungary asks EU to extend exemption for its oil company from Russia sanctions

by Martin Fornusek July 3, 2023 3:17 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Trade and Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto speaks during an interview in Ankara, Turkey, on May 3, 2023. (Photo: Omer Taha Cetin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Hungary will ask the EU for a one-year prolongation of the sanctions exemption for oil refiner Slovnaft, allowing it to export products made from Russian oil to Czechia, Reuters cited Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on July 3.

Slovakia-based Slovnaft is a subsidiary of MOL Group, a Hungarian oil and gas company.

After a meeting with his Slovak counterpart Miroslav Wlachovský, Szijjártó said that MOL needs one more year to complete investment at Slovnaft that would allow a further shift from Russian crude oil, Reuters wrote.

MOL’s refineries use Russian crude oil delivered through the Druzhba pipeline, transiting through Ukraine.

Reuters cited MOL’s chairman Zsolt Hernadi that the company plans to partly finance the $500 million-$700 million in technological investment needed to diversify its oil deliveries, with the support of the EU subsidies.

Both Hungary and Slovakia are major importers of Russian crude. Szijjártó said that 80% of its crude oil supplies in 2022 came from Russia. Slovakia is among the most dependent countries in the EU with an estimated 95% of its oil coming from Russia.

The two Central European countries, as well as Czechia, received exemptions from the EU sanctions on Russian crude imports in May 2022, allowing them to use the Druzhba pipeline transit.

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