Serbia will be exempt from the European Union’s sanctions against Russian oil companies, which will enable Naftna Industrija Srbije (NIS), oil and fuel producer majority-owned by Gazprom Neft, to continue importing crude oil through Croatia.
With its fourth package of sanctions, the EU banned domestic companies from doing business with a new group of Russian firms, citing Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. Gazprom Neft and the subsidiaries in which it has stakes of over 50% are included, which means the measures apply to NIS.
According to the sanctions package, as of May 15, NIS will not be able to import crude oil through Croatia, its main transportation route. It was recently confirmed by Jadranski Naftovod (JANAF), the company managing oil pipelines in the country.
Serbia imports almost 70 percent of its crude oil consumption, most of it through Croatia
Serbia will be exempted from the application of EU sanctions related to the import of oil and gas from Russia, and so will the remaining Western Balkan countries, EU member states and the European Economic Area, Tanjug agency reported, based on information from unnamed diplomatic sources in Brussels.
The sanctions package includes the exemption for EU member states from the ban on cooperating with sanctioned Russian companies when it comes to the import of coal, oil, gas and some other raw materials.
Serbia imports almost 70 percent of the oil it consumes and almost all of it comes through Croatia and its Adriatic Oil Pipeline.
Imports of Russian gas to Serbia weren’t affected by the EU’s fourth package of sanctions as Gazprom wasn’t on the list, but there is another problem.
Vučić, Putin to discuss a new agreement for gas imports
Serbia has another important deadline very soon: its long-term contract for natural gas with Gazprom expires on May 31. The country receives almost all the quantities of the fuel it consumes from Russia.
The issue was one of the topics discussed in a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. Vučić said Serbia would continue to pursue a European path, while maintaining its sincere and traditionally friendly relations with the Russian Federation, his PR office said.
The two presidents noted that the bilateral long-term gas import contract expires on May 31. It is necessary to start talks regarding the price, quantities and other conditions for a future contract, the PR office added.