November 29, 2022

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They agreed to new sanctions against Russia – symbolic – economic

At the end of September, the European Commission proposed an eighth set of sanctions against Russia. Notification of this on his Twitter profile Recently Edita Hurda, Ambassador to the EU of the Czech Republic, is the permanent President of the Council of the European Union. According to his message, the approval of the eighth set of sanctions is the EU’s firm response to Russia’s declaration of illegal annexation of four regions of Ukraine, the “People’s Republic” of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts.

Among the restrictive measures, the Union will ban exports to Russia of materials used in aircraft manufacturing, some electronic equipment and some chemicals. The package also affects the import of many Russian products, but prevents EU citizens from taking part in the management board of Russian state-owned companies.

It also calls for the establishment of a legal basis on which the price ceiling for Russian crude oil will be set.

Perhaps the most important political deal is the setting of a ceiling on Russian crude oil prices. The price cap applies when oil is exported to the EU leaving Russia and delivered to a third country by an EU or G7 shipping company. Therefore, the price ceiling does not affect exports from the country to the EU, but crude oil from Western countries. Presumably, this is necessary so that poor countries do not lose out on expensive raw materials. European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen also welcomed the decision, saying Moscow must pay for its actions and that the EU would never accept “Putin’s fake referendums or any kind of annexation in Ukraine”.

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Negotiations have been going on for weeks

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijardo commented on the political agreement as follows

For weeks we have been having intense discussions in Brussels, fighting hard to ensure that Hungary gets exemptions from permit measures that harm the Hungarian people or endanger the security of Hungary’s energy supply.

According to him, we agreed on the following last night:

  • “We have obtained an exemption from the oil price ceiling mechanism for the pipeline transportation system, so Hungary’s crude oil supply will not be threatened by security measures”;
  • And, according to Peter Szyjjardo, we have also achieved exemptions for nuclear-related activities, so not only services and products necessary for the operation of existing nuclear power plants, but also those necessary for the construction of new reactors are included. Exceptions in Brussels.

In his post, he stressed that Hungary’s crude oil supply is secure. It is important to emphasize that Russian natural gas is in no way affected by this plan, and that even member states must officially vote.

Proportion of natural gas imports

Western member states have not yet sanctioned Russian natural gas. At the same time, it is slowly becoming impossible to trace who the Russians are actually supplying natural gas to. Moscow can deliver natural gas to the Old Continent through four pipelines: North Stream, the Yamal pipeline, the Ukrainian pipeline – of which there are two routes, Brotherhood and Soyuz – and finally through the Turkish Stream.

The Yamal pipeline was shut down for the first time this year, but it is now clear that we can no longer rely on the North Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the long term. Currently, supplies are made through a pipeline through Ukraine and through the Turkish Stream. On October 1, the first of these received a large amount, 37.7 million cubic meters, while 28 million cubic meters arrived in Europe on the Southern Pipeline, Turkish Stream. By comparison: 380.5 million cubic meters came from Norway at the same time.

Daily gas import via routes (Russia and other routes)

Russian gas exports are clearly gradually declining. As against 1745.7 million cubic meters in the first week of the beginning of the year, the figure has now changed to 526.3 million cubic meters. Compared to the data of a year ago, this change is even more significant, in the thirty-ninth week of 2021, 2,936.4 million cubic meters arrived from Russia.

EU and UK Natural Gas Imports (Bulk, Russian, Norwegian, LNG, Algerian)

Intermittent births

Gazprom, the Russian gas industry, stopped supplies to Italy and Austria most recently – in early October. This has now been resolved and shipping has resumed via Austria to Italy. Austrian operator LLC Gazprom has agreed to confirm the transport bookings of the export, which will enable the export of Russian gas via Austria. Russian gas now accounts for 10 percent of Italian imports, up from 40 percent previously.

FGSZ Zrt. According to our newspaper, in Hungary in September, according to daily data, the amount of natural gas supplied was in the range of 17.6-22.6 million cubic meters, and on some days the pipelines are more than 90 percent used.

– Via the Serbian-Hungarian border crossing, i.e. via the Turkish Stream. Since the molecules cannot be precisely named, the following countries directly receive Russian gas within the EU: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy and Austria. This is done through two important infrastructures: Ukrainian Pipeline and Turkish Stream.

More recently, Russia has threatened to shut down pipelines to Moldova. On October 1, Gazprom announced a 30 percent cut in gas supplies to Moldova, from 8.06 million cubic meters per day to 5.7 million cubic meters by October. Gazprom owns 50 percent of Moldovagaz. By the 20th of each month, Moldovagas is obligated to pay for the natural gas consumed in the previous month and for 50 percent of the month in question. According to Russian gas companies, the Moldovan company regularly violates the deadline for paying gas bills.

(Cover image: Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo/Reuters)