Slovakia’s largest oil refiner Slovnaft will keep selling Russian oil on the domestic market even after its exemption under the EU embargo on Russian crude oil runs out at the end of 2023, the company’s CEO Marek Senkovič said.
Unlike other EU countries, Slovakia, like Hungary, will be able to continue buying Russian crude oil until the end of 2023.
But Slovnaft wants to continue even once the exemption runs out, said Senkovič, noting that this would not go against EU sanctions.
“Condition is that we can’t process more Russian crude oil in future calendar years than what we will produce from it for the domestic market,” Senkovič told Dennik N in an interview.
Slovnaft wants to keep this ‘sweet deal’ because approximately 60% of its products are shipped abroad, and according to Senkovič, 60% of the processed oil must come from other sources.
At the moment, Slovnaft mainly processes Russian crude and cannot process other oil as effectively, meaning it must invest heavily in the upcoming months. Senkovič believes the repurposing can be finished by the end of 2023 and will cost approximately €200 million.
In June, Slovnaft warned that it could not guarantee fuel supplies to its traditional export destinations in Central Europe under the terms of EU’s sanctions packages. When asked if Senkovič still believes this to be the case, he said Slovnaft would do everything to stop this from occurring.
“But it is also true that the first years after the start of processing non-Russian oil will not be easy. It is one thing to work with just one type of oil, but it is something else when you have to mix different types. That is much more complicated,” he explained.
Other reasons that could lead to a difficult transition include delays of tankers or unavailability of the needed type of oil on the market.
“For example, we know people at a German refinery near the sea that processes up to almost 30 types of oil from different parts of the world. Until now, they were envious that we have only oil from Russia, which, moreover, flows to us through pipelines. Now, however, we will face more risks and uncertainties,” said Senkovič.