Europe has told Russia and Belarus that a 60-hour choke-hold on oil flow was 60 hours too much. All EU countries affected by the stoppage of Russian oil supplies because of a dispute between Moscow and Minsk are now receiving oil, the EU Energy Commissioner has confirmed.
As the climax of a now-resolved trade dispute, the world’s second-biggest oil exporter, Russia, had closed the Druzhba (‘Friendship’) pipeline. This is its largest single oil export route, and runs across Belarus, to deliver to EU customers.
A meeting of the EU’s Oil Supply Group, to discuss the crisis, included Russian and Belarussian experts. The president of the European Commission on Wednesday challenged Moscow to restore its credibility.
The EU’s commissioner in charge of energy matters, Andris Piebalgs, used a softer tone:
“At this stage I can confirm that all oil supplies are renewed. All member states that have been affected are receiving oil. We ask both producer countries and transit countries to be really reliable.”
Russia restarted the flow of oil through the pipeline in question after Belarus dropped an oil transit duty imposed last week and agreed to return oil Moscow said it had taken illegally. Brussels, meanwhile, is urging EU member states to make plans to diversify suppliers and revamp their energy strategies.