Hungary's MOL requests extra oil supplies via Druzhba amid disruption fears -sources

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Cars pass by a gas station of Hungarian oil company MOL in Budapest, Hungary, November 11, 2021. REUTERS/Marton Monus

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MOSCOW, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Hungarian energy company MOL requested extra oil supplies from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday, in a possible attempt to build stockpiles in the wake of Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-blown assault on Ukraine on Thursday morning, driving energy prices higher on concerns over potential global supply disruptions from sanctions on the major crude and gas exporter.

"Currently the oil supply through the Druzhba pipeline is continuous, but MOL Group has sufficient pipeline capacities to supply landlocked refineries, Danube in Hungary and Slovnaft in Slovakia, through the Adriatic pipeline as well", MOL Group representative said. The representative said "supply of the refineries is in line with internal plans" and refused to give further details on purchases.

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The southern branch of Druzhba pipeline runs via Ukraine to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and has been the primary source of supply for the countries' refineries for years.

Alternative oil supplies for the plants include Adria pipeline connecting Croatia's Omisalj port to Hungary and Transalpine pipeline (TAL) that connects Italy's Trieste to Czech refineries.

"They (MOL) asked for any extra volumes to be delivered shortly as they try to have enough stock in case of any disruptions in supply," one of the people said.

According to those people, MOL can get extra 50,000 tonnes of oil this month provided Russian state pipeline monopoly Transneft (TRNF_p.MM) accepts its request. Transeft and Naftogaz, owner of Ukraine's oil pipeline operator Ukrtransnafta, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Russian oil supplies via the southern Druzhba route averaged 240,000 barrels per day in 2021. The northern route runs from Russia to Belarus to supply Germany and Poland.

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Reporting by Olga Yagova and Gleb Gorodyankin Editing by Katya Golubkova and Tomasz Janowski

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