The European Union agreed to ban 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year, the leaders of the European Council announced on Monday.
Russian oil delivered by tankers would be banned, while an exemption will be made for the southern segment of the Druzhba pipeline, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference.
The northern segment of the pipeline serves Poland and Germany, which have agreed to the embargo. The southern part goes to Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic. Von der Leyen said an exemption will be made for the southern segment, which accounts for 10% of imports on Russian oil.
“We have a clear political statement by Poland and Germany that they will, as the others, wind down Russian oil, until the end of the year. We have covered overall 90% of Russian oil being wound down during this time frame. Leftover is the roundabout 10 or 11% that is covered by the southern Druzhba. We have agreed for the moment an exemption,” von der Leyen said.
Von der Leyen added that EU leaders would continue to meet to discuss details of the oil embargo and other parts of the sanctions package.
“The European Council agrees that the sixth package of sanctions against Russia will cover crude oil, as well as petroleum products, delivered from Russia into member states, with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline,” the European Council said in a statement.
“The European Council will revert to the issue of the temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline as soon as possible."
Alternatives to Russian supply: Von der Leyen said it would be possible to increase usage of the Adria oil pipeline in Croatia to supply oil to Hungary without Russia. She added that Hungary’s refineries would need to be updated to accommodate oil from Croatia.
“It is big step forward what we did today. Because we have now gotten rid of coal – and this was already very difficult. Now we basically have the political agreement, how to phase out oil in a clear timeframe,” von der Leyen said.
Some context: Earlier this month when Europe proposed the ban on Russian oil, it stopped short of sanctioning Russia's natural gas. According to Rystad Energy, Russia's natural gas exports are predicted to generate about $80 billion in tax revenues for Moscow this year.
In recent weeks, Russia has been cutting off gas supply to countries such as the Netherlands, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria which have refused to comply with its demand for gas to be paid for in rubles.