Czech Republic Takes Steps to End Dependence on Russian Oil with New Deal

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In a significant move to reduce its reliance on Russian oil, Czech state-run energy firm Mero has signed a deal to expand the Transalpine oil pipeline (TAL). The $73 million expansion project will double the capacity of the pipeline, allowing the Czech Republic to import up to eight million tonnes of oil annually starting from 2025.

Mero CEO Jaroslav Pantucek emphasized the importance of the deal, stating that it would help the country achieve energy independence, freedom, and sovereignty. The Czech Republic, with a population of 10.5 million, has already made progress in reducing its dependence on Russian gas earlier this year.

Prior to the deal, the Czech Republic's two refineries received 7.4 million tonnes of oil per year, with 56% of it sourced from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline. Although the European Union imposed a ban on most oil imports from Russia in May 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine, the Druzhba pipeline was exempted.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala praised the agreement, describing it as a major step toward energy independence from Russia. The exemption granted Prague valuable time to negotiate the TAL deal.

The Transalpine oil pipeline, established in 1967, is jointly owned by a consortium of eight oil firms, including Mero, Shell, ENI, and ExxonMobil. It transports oil from the Italian port of Trieste to southern Germany, and from there, it reaches the Czech Republic and Austria through other pipeline connections.

With this new deal, the Czech Republic aims to diversify its oil supply routes and decrease its dependence on Russian oil imports, further enhancing its energy security and sovereignty.

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