ANDRIS Piebalgs, the EU’s Energy Commissioner, supports Slovakia in its efforts to buy back a 49 percent stake in the country’s crude oil pipeline operator, Transpetrol.
Piebalgs expressed his support last Friday following a meeting with Slovak Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek in Brussels, the SITA news agency wrote.
“Commissioner Piebalgs expressed his support for the Slovak government's efforts in relation to Transpetrol, including the aim of ensuring third party access to Slovakia’s oil infrastructure", the European Commission wrote in a press release.
"Slovakia plays a key role in oil transit for southern Europe, and full respect for market-based principles is a pre-condition for achieving the EU's Energy Policy objective of security and diversification of supplies."
Transpetrol transits Russian crude oil and stores crude-oil products for its customers and the state material reserves authority.
In 2002, the Russian Yukos Oil bought a 49 percent stake in Transpetrol for $74 million, while Slovakia kept a 51-percent stake.
Yukos recently decided to sell its stake in Transpetrol due to its problems with the Russian tax authorities.