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Austria and Slovakia abandon Druzhba pipeline connection project with Russia

Austria and Slovakia abandoned the idea of building a pipeline to connect with Druzhba pipeline
Austria and Slovakia abandoned the idea of building a pipeline to connect with Druzhba pipeline

Austrian oil and gas company OMV and Slovak company Transpetrol have halted work on a pipeline project intended to transport Russian oil from Druzhba via Slovakia to the Schwechat refinery near Vienna, Austrian national public broadcaster ORF reported on Feb. 12.

“For almost 20 years, OMV tried to connect a pipeline from Schwechat via Slovakia directly to the Russian network with the Slovakian company Transpetrol,” ORF said.

“Now the project is finally off the table.”

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All crude oil currently transported to Austria goes to OMV’s Schwechat refinery (in Lower Austria near Vienna) via the Adriatic-Vienna pipeline, which connects the Transalpine pipeline on the Italian-Austrian border to the Schwechat refinery.

The new route directly through Slovakia was initiated by OMV in 2003. It involved the construction of 62 kilometers between Schwechat and Bratislava to connect directly to the Russian Druzhba oil pipeline. The route via the Black Sea, the Bosphorus, and the Italian Trieste was much longer and therefore more expensive until the oil could finally be processed in Schwechat.

“However, the joint operating company Bratislava-Schwechat Pipeline GmbH has now been dissolved,” the article says.

“At the end of the year, the project finally came to a standstill. According to OMV, the decision not to implement the pipeline was made in March 2022. Upon request, one speaks of a ‘decision that was made together with Transpetrol.’”

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After more than 20 years of unsuccessful attempts to obtain all the necessary permits from the Slovak Republic, further investments in the project were deemed useless. The implementation of the project was delayed, among other things, due to the “energy transition” and the lack of need for another pipeline, said OMV.

“But the political situation has also changed in 20 years,” the publication said.

“The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which began in February 2022, has since made Austria question its dependence on Russian gas and oil. OMV did not comment on this when asked.”

There was no longer any need for the pipeline, the Austrian Climate Protection Ministry said. Austria has no longer imported oil from Russia since February 2023. This is also why OMV is unlikely to pursue the project any further, according to the ministry.

The European Union reportedly wants to lift an exemption to the sanctions that allowed Poland and Germany to receive Russian oil via the Druzhba pipeline.

The EU will propose to officially stop the supply of Russian oil to Germany and Poland via the northern branch of the Druzhba pipeline.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine