BUDAPEST/PRAGUE (Reuters) – Oil supplies to parts of eastern and central Europe through part of the Druzhba pipeline have been temporarily suspended, according to oil pipeline operators in Hungary and Slovakia.
It was not immediately clear the extent of the disturbance, and it coincided with an explosion in a village in eastern Poland near the Ukrainian border, which alarmed NATO countries.
Hungary in Hungary (MOLB.BU) The company’s Ukrainian partner said a Russian missile hit a power station near the Belarus border that provides electricity to a pumping station, causing it to shut down. Slovakia’s Transpetrol also confirmed the comment, citing “technical reasons on the Ukrainian side” but did not specify a missile strike.
Druzhba’s pipeline network originates in Russia and splits in Belarus to Ukraine, where it splits again, supplying many countries in eastern and central Europe that depend on this oil, including refineries in Hungary, Slovakia and the landlocked Czech Republic.
“The reason for the suspension of supplies has not been officially confirmed by the Ukrainian side,” Transpetrol said in a statement, adding that it expected to have more information about the reason for the closure by Wednesday.
A spokeswoman said on Tuesday that the Czech pipeline operator Miro has so far not noticed any disturbances in the flow of oil through the Druzhba pipeline. Polish pipeline operator PERN said late Tuesday that oil is flowing normally through the Polish section of the pipeline.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban held a defense council meeting on Tuesday after Drogba’s shipments were suspended, Orban’s press chief told the official MTI news agency.
Transneft has a monopoly on the Russian state-owned pipeline (TRNF_p.MM) RIA news agency quoted Transneft as saying that Ukraine had been notified of the temporary suspension of supplies to Hungary.
Oil prices jumped after the news, with Brent up 0.8% on the day.
(Reporting by Krisztina Than and Jan Lopatka); Additional reporting by Marek Strzelecki in Warsaw; Editing by David Gregorio
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