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Slovak Economy Minister Jahnátek’s plans for alternative oil imports

A day after Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary saw a possible oil crisis fade after supplier Russia resolved a dispute with Ukraine, which was seeking higher transit fees, Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek, on December 29, expanded on Slovakia's plans to import oil via other routes, the SITA newswire reported.

A day after Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary saw a possible oil crisis fade after supplier Russia resolved a dispute with Ukraine, which was seeking higher transit fees, Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek, on December 29, expanded on Slovakia's plans to import oil via other routes, the SITA newswire reported.

The minister stressed the importance of linking the Druzhba pipeline with the town of Schwechat in Austria to allow oil imports from Italy's Adriatic port city of Trieste.

“This way Slovakia would be able to import no less than 3.5 million tonnes a year if some problems were to occur in Russia or Ukraine,” he said.

Domestic industry uses up some 2.7 million tonnes of oil a year. Austria's OMV, a leading oil and gas group, is interested in transporting 3 million tonnes of oil a year. At issue now is whether oil transport should be routed through the Žitný Ostrov area (as part of the Druzhba-Swechat plan) or elsewhere.

The ministry has tasked state-owned pipeline operator Transpetrol with calculating individual alternatives, while taking economic and engineering aspects into consideration. Jahnatek has guaranteed that this topic will now be put up for public discussion. During their phone conversation on Monday's evening Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko gave guarantees to Jahnátek of continuous oil supplies to Slovakia, the spokesman for the Economy Ministry, Branislav Zvara, told SITA. The Russian minister informed Jahnatek that Russia and Ukraine have signed an oil transit accord. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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