Bank agrees to process payment for Russian oil transit to Central Europe

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Russian company Transneft said on Friday that payment for oil transit to the Czech Republic had reached the bank and confirmation from Ukraine was awaited, Russian news agency RIA reported.

“We are waiting for confirmation from Ukrtransnafta on the transfer of funds in order to open the pumping (of oil) to the Czech Republic,” Igor Dyomin, assistant to the president of Transneft, told RIA. “As for all payments made, we will take them into account in the next mutual settlements.”

Ukrtransnafta did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Central European countries are partially dependent on Russian oil and largely dependent on Russian gas, and have been granted exemptions from the European Union’s incoming ban on Russian oil imports until they adjust their routes shipping lines and their refineries for other oils.

Czech oil refiner ORLEN Unipetrol, a unit of Poland’s PKN Orlen, declined to comment.

Czech oil transit company MERO, which operates the Czech part of the Druzhba pipeline, said it had no information on the status of the payment.

On Thursday, MERO chairman Jaroslav Pantucek said he expected flows to the Czech Republic to resume on Friday or Saturday after the payment problem was resolved, although he suggested PKN could make a replacement payment similar to MOL, which PKN refused to confirm.

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