©Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Druzhba oil pipeline between Hungary and Russia is seen at Hungarian MOL Group’s Danube refinery in Szazhalombatta, Hungary May 18, 2022. Picture taken May 18, 2022. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo/File Photo
By Krisztina Than and Jan Lopatka
BUDAPEST/PRAGUE (Reuters) – Oil supplies to parts of eastern and central Europe via a section of the Druzhba pipeline have been temporarily suspended, according to oil pipeline operators in Hungary and Slovakia.
The extent of the disruption was not immediately clear and came at the same time as an explosion in a village in eastern Poland near the Ukrainian border alerted NATO countries.
Hungary’s MOL said its Ukrainian partner told the company a Russian missile hit a power plant near the Belarusian border that supplies electricity to a pumping station, causing the disruption. Slovakia’s Transpetrol also confirmed the suspension, citing “technical reasons on the Ukrainian side”, but did not name a rocket attack.
The Druzhba pipeline network originated in Russia and splits in Belarus into Ukraine where it splits again, supplying several countries in Eastern and Central Europe that depend on that oil, including refineries in landlocked Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
“The reason for the suspension of deliveries has not yet been officially confirmed by the Ukrainian side,” Transpetrol said in a statement, adding that it expects to have more information about the cause of the shutdown by Wednesday.
The Czech pipeline operator MERO has not observed any disturbances in the flow of oil through the Druzhba pipeline, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Polish pipeline operator PERN said late Tuesday that oil is flowing normally over the Polish section of the pipeline.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called a Defense Council meeting on Tuesday after Druzhba supplies were suspended, Orban’s press chief told state news agency MTI.
Russia’s state pipeline monopolist Transneft has been informed by Ukraine that deliveries to Hungary have been temporarily suspended, the RIA Transneft news agency quoted as saying.
Oil prices surged on the news, with the benchmark rising 0.8% on the day.
The Druzhba pipeline network