The Port of Burgas in Bulgaria will stay open for Russian oil tankers until end of 2024

Burgas remains the only EU port to receive Russian oil

Burgas remains the only EU port to receive Russian oil

The Bulgarian facility and the Druzhba pipeline are the only exemptions from a near-complete oil embargo on Putin’s regime

Earlier today, the European Council concluded its summit with the decision to pass the sixth wave of sanctions on Russia, including a partial embargo on Russian oil imports to the EU. The key word here is partial as there are two notable exemptions lobbied for by countries like Hungary and Bulgaria, which are more reliant on fossil fuels from Russia and would thus need more time to readapt their economies and facilities to the new reality.

The first of these exemptions stipulates that the Black Sea port of Burgas (Bulgaria) will remain the only seaport in the bloc to receive tankers with crude oil from Russia. Speaking to journalists after the summit, the country’s PM Kiril Petkov explained that the exemption will be granted until the end of 2024 in order to give Bulgaria a chance to reorganize its oil refinery in Burgas. Currently, that facility is only able to process Russian oil.

Today we’ll have the general conclusion, which has no exact details by country, but in the real agreements, which will come in two days, Bulgaria will have a separate paragraph with a derogation specifically for us up to the end of 2024,” said Kiril Petkov speaking to journalists.

The embargo means the end of 90% of Russian oil in the EU

Europe is the biggest buyer of Russian energy. Russian crude accounted for 27% of the bloc's imports in 2021, according to Eurostat. That's around 2.4 million barrels per day, data from the International Energy Agency shows. About 35% of that was delivered via pipelines to the bloc, according to the IEA.

But pipeline deliveries made up a much bigger share of Russian oil shipments to Hungary (86%), the Czech Republic (97%) and Slovakia (100%). Oil is delivered to these countries through a pipeline called Druzhba (Friendship), which was built during Soviet times. That means that, just like Bulgaria, the Central European countries are much more reliant on these imports than the rest of Europe and an immediate ban on deliveries would cause economic havoc there.

That is why the other exemption on oil imports will apply to these three countries. Germany and Poland, which are also connected to the northern branch of Druzhba will voluntarily disengage from its supply network by the end of this year.

The overall result of the embargo which was agreed upon will immediately halt 75% of Russian oil imports, a figure which will increase to 90% by the end of the year.



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