Diesel hike warnings after EU oil ban

Embargo on Russian products went into force on February 5.

A Shell filling station in Bratislava.A Shell filling station in Bratislava. (Source: SME - Marko Erd)

People in Slovakia should brace for more fuel price rises, especially for diesel, experts have warned after an EU ban on the import of Russian oil products came into effect yesterday.

Europe is not self-sufficient in diesel, and much of it was imported into the EU from Russia, or produced mainly from Russian oil, 365.bank analyst Jana Glasová said.

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With the EU now forced to replace Russian diesel with supplies from other countries, its price is being pushed up, she explained.

"The problems with diesel fuel on the European market have meant diesel fuel has been more expensive than gasoline for a long time - even in a year-on-year comparison, it has seen a significant increase in price," Glasová told TASR.

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European countries have been cutting down on their imports of Russian diesel fuel in the run up to the embargo. Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, about half of all imported diesel fuel came from Russia. This dropped to around 27 per cent recently, according to analyst Lukáš Kovanda from Trinity Bank.

In recent weeks, however, countries have pre-stocked with Russian diesel, which could soften a possible price shock after the introduction of the embargo.

Temporary exemption for Slovnaft

Under a temporary exemption, Slovakia can still import Russian oil via the Druzhba pipeline.

However, it is not allowed to export some products derived from this Russian oil to EU countries, except to the Czech Republic, and will only be able to do that until the end of this year.

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This means Bratislava refinery Slovnaft will now have to import from other countries, eventually from Croatia via the Adria pipeline.

"This year, we expect to replace about 30 per cent of originally Russian oil with an alternative," said Slovnaft spokesperson Anton Molnár.

He added that the ability to continuously supply markets in Austria and Hungary currently largely depends on the functionality of the Adria pipeline.

"The MOL and Slovnaft group only have a short-term contract with the Croatian pipeline operator, JANAF, for the next few months," the spokesperson said.

It is unclear what will happen after this.

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