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Oil flows through Druzhba to Czech Republic resume – pipeline operator (Update)

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Flows of Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline to the Czech Republic resumed at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Friday, Czech pipeline operator MERO said.

Supplies via the pipeline were suspended to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia on Aug. 4 because Western sanctions prevented paying transit fees to Ukraine, Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft said on Tuesday.

A European bank agreed to process the payment for the transit of Russian oil through Ukraine, removing the cause of the stoppage.

“Tonight (Friday) at 2000 GMT, oil flow to the Czech Republic will be resumed,” a spokesperson for Transpetrol said.

Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela also said that the oil will start flowing again. The Czech Republic covers roughly half of its oil consumption from Russia.

“We have found a way to unblock the transit fee payment for oil deliveries and its shipment through the Druzhba will resume soon,” Sikela said on Twitter.

“The disruption did not affect the functioning of Czech refineries or the fuel market,” he added.

Flows to Hungary and Slovakia were restarted on Wednesday after Hungary’s refiner and its Slovak unit Slovnaft found a workaround by paying the fee to Ukrtransnafta themselves, but supplies to the Czech Republic have not resumed.

Central European countries are partially dependent on Russian oil and largely dependent on Russian gas, and have secured exemptions from the European Union’s incoming ban on imports of Russian oil until they adjust their shipping routes and refineries so that they can take other oil.

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