On December 20, the German government stated that from the beginning of 2023, it stops buying Russian oil. Bloomberg reports it.
Germany had previously stated that it plans to stop importing Russian oil by the end of this year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Still, the situation could have been more evident after the statement of the chief executive officer of the Russian oil pipeline operator about receiving a request for Russian oil supplies in the first quarter of 2023 for Germany.
Now, the German government has rejected the statement that they plan to buy Russian oil early next year. He said that instead, Berlin will import oil from Kazakhstan, although this deal still needs to be completed.
“Reports that Germany had ordered Russian crude oil are false,” a spokeswoman for the German economy ministry said. “The mineral oil companies at the Leuna and Schwedt refineries will no longer be ordering Russian crude oil in the new year.”
German oil refineries Leuna and Schwedt
German refineries Leuna and Schwedt have historically depended on imports of Russian oil through pipes. Now flows along the Druzhba pipeline – Europe’s largest crude oil pipeline – will instead come from Kazakhstan, although the deal still needs to be finalized.
Pipeline oil flows from Russia are exempt from the European Union’s ban on most maritime imports, which began on December 5. Germany and Poland, which receive Russian oil through the northern part of the Druzhba Canal, have pledged to abandon this by December.
“They have announced that from January 1, they will not take oil from Russia, but we have received requests from Polish consumers: give us 3 million tons for next year and 360 thousand tons for December,” Transneft CEO Mykola Tokarev said in an interview with the newspaper.
It will be difficult for German refineries to replace all Russian volumes with Kazakh oil, Tokarev said, adding that while it is technically possible to conduct so-called swap operations to replace Russian oil partially, it is a political decision.
Kazakh oil shipments
Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi said last week that the Central Asian country could ship two to five million tons a year through the pipeline.
Kazakh oil is pumped to Samara in Russia, blended with Russian supplies, and exported through the ports of Ust-Luga and Novorossiysk. Cargoes belonging to Kazakhstan’s KazTransOil, now called KEBCO to distinguish it from Russia’s REBCO, are exempt from EU sanctions. Oil could be diverted from the ports to the Druzhba pipeline, but this would require the participation of a Russian oil pipeline operator.
“There are no talks with us about Kazakh oil flows going through Russia, Belarus, and Poland to Germany,” Transneft spokesman Igor Dyomin told Bloomberg by phone after Germany’s statement. “No contracts were signed.”
The Polish request to Transneft was “standard procedure” for booking potential transit capacity, national refiner PKN Orlen, SA, said last month. The company is ready to stop importing Russian oil, which requires government decisions.