MOL expands crude pipeline linking Central Europe to Adriatic terminal

By bne IntelliNews February 9, 2015

MOL has expanded capacity on a strategic oil pipeline that will link Central European markets to Croatia's oil terminal at Omisalj, it announced on February 9.

MOL and its Slovak unit Transpetrol invested $80mn in the renovation and capacity expansion of the Friendship I/Adria oil pipeline, which connects the two countries to the Adriatic terminal, MOL reported. The company states that the investment will increase energy security for Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The annual capacity of the pipeline linking Hungary and Slovakia has been increased to 6mn tonnes from 2.5mn tonnes. Works were carried out on a 128-km section connecting Tokol in Hungary with Slovakia’s Sahy. Part of the route is constituted by the mainline Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline carrying Russian crude into Europe.

MOL also increased the capacity of the Hungarian section of the Adria oil pipeline. That route, which connects to the Adriatic terminal, has been upgraded by 4mn tonnes per year to carry 14mn tonnes.

"This investment is of strategic importance since it enables MOL Group to meet the oil needs of its Bratislava Refinery from the Adriatic," the MOL statement reads. "Thus Hungary’s and Slovakia’s security of supply has significantly improved while the degree of their currently one-sided dependence decreases."

The effects will also be felt across the region, the company claims. "The section with extended capacity may well contribute to the Czech Republic’s security of supply as well," the statement continues. "Through this route, Czech refineries can also receive crude oil from a new source."

The Czech Republic saw sharp falls in Russian crude deliveries in 2012 in what traders claimed was a test of customers' willingness to absorb higher prices. Later the same year, Prague bought a stake in the TAL pipeline which offers it access to oil from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Iran via the Italian port of Trieste.

State-owned Mero also owns and operates the Czech section of Druzhba.

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