For now, Orlen Unipetrol has to import crude oil to Czech refineries from Russia due to the impossibility of importing the raw material from other directions – said the company’s president, Tomasz Wiatrak. As he recalled, for this reason the Czech Republic has an exemption from the EU embargo on Russian oil.
– Imported by Orlen Unipetrol z Russia Oil volumes are consistent with the only contract concluded in 2013, and their fluctuations in individual months are natural and result from current production plans, Wiatrak said. As he explained, the current limitations of the transmission infrastructure in Czech Republicfor which the Czech state-owned company Mero is responsible, make it impossible to fully cover the country’s demand with oil from directions other than Russia.
“Until the expansion of TAL is completed, the Czech Republic must use Russian oil”
– Supplies of Russian oil to the Czech Republic are necessary to ensure raw material and fuel security in this country – says Tomasz Wiatrak, president of Orlen Unipetrol, in an interview with PAP. Therefore, the Czech government asked the European Union not to apply sanctions on oil from Russia and to continue supplies via the Druzhba pipeline, and received such consent. Oil from directions other than Russia flows to the Czech Republic via the TAL/IKL pipeline, which starts in… Italy, but it has limited bandwidth. The state-owned operator Mero is responsible for the expansion of the pipelines, and it was only in the middle of this year that it signed an agreement on the expansion of TAL.
– Until the expansion of TAL is completed, the Czech Republic must use Russian oil. Suspending supplies would threaten to completely destabilize the Czech fuel market – emphasized Wiatrak. – Thanks to the exemption from the EU embargo, Mero has gained the time needed to expand TAL – he added.
The TAL expansion is scheduled to be completed in early 2025.
– By this time, Unipetrol will be ready to completely stop processing Russian oil at the refinery in Litvinov. We have a very specific plan for the technological adaptation of this plant – assured Wiatrak.
A month-long test is to be carried out in October to determine the scope of the necessary reconfiguration of the refinery. The next step will be the planned renovation of the refinery in April next year, during which technological modifications will be carried out necessary to completely abandon the processing of Russian oil. – In six months, Litvinov will be technologically prepared to process only non-Russian oil. We will only have to wait for Mero to expand the TAL pipeline, through which we will be able to supply raw material from alternative directions, said the president of Orlen Unipetrol.
The diversity of imports results from current production plans
Tomasz Wiatrak also commented on the emerging information about the increase in imports of Russian oil to the Czech Republic.
– All deliveries of Russian oil are made in accordance with the contract with Rosneft signed in 2013. The delivery volumes provided for in the contract have not changed. The fact that we import more in some months and less in others is natural and results from current production plans, which in turn are conditioned by demand, planned and unplanned refinery shutdowns and, finally, the possibility of importing crude oil from other directions – explained the president of Orlen Unipetrol.
He added that TAL is currently completely reserved by other companies and Unipetrol cannot use it. – If free capacities appear in the TAL pipeline, the company will use them, which will reduce the demand for raw material from Russia – noted the president of Orlen Unipetrol. He recalled that despite these restrictions, as the largest fuel supplier in the Czech Republic, Orlen Unipetrol must secure an appropriate level of fuel supply to the Czech market.
Main photo source: orlenunipetrol.cz