site.btaUPDATED Deputy PM: There Is No Explicit Ban on Export of Petroleum Products Made from Russian Crude Imported by Sea
There is no explicit ban on the export of petroleum products made from Russian crude imported by sea - only by pipeline, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Policy and Transport Minister Hristo Aleksiev told journalists here Wednesday. He assured the press that Bulgaria "has thoroughly familiarized itself with the European regulation on this issue".
This has been the consistent government reply to comments that Bulgaria will be violating the EU ban on Russian oil, if it allows oil refinery Lukoil Burgas to export its products.
The ban on the export of fuel produced by the Lukoil refinery in Burgas was imposed by the Kiril Petkov government in keeping with the EU ban on the import and export of Russian oil and on the insurance for such cargo in maritime shipping. Bulgaria is still able to use Russian crude oil thanks to a derogation allowed by the EU on account of its geographic location and dependence on Russian oil.
In late October, it transpired that the caretaker government plans to scrap the ban on the export of fuel produced by Lukoil from Russian crude. The European Commission reacted to the plans, saying that the exemption for Bulgaria, valid until the end of 2024, aims to allow this country to supply itself with oil, and not resell it to other EU Member States or third countries.
On November 11, the government and Lukoil made a deal whereby Lukoil Neftochim Burgas and Lukoil Bulgaria will move their business, revenues and taxes to Bulgaria from the Netherlands and Switzerland as from January 1, 2023, on condition that it is allowed to keep processing predominantly Russian oil and export its petroleum products.
Approached for comment on the deal by Radio Free Europe, a European Commission spokesperson reportedly said that Bulgaria cannot sell Russian oil to third countries, even if it is refined.
Minister Aleksiev said on Wednesday a meeting with representatives of the European Commission would be organized in order to settle the matter. "There are some unclear aspects in the regulation itself," Aleksiev added.
He mentioned as an example aviation fuel, which is only produced by Lukoil in this country. "If a plane is refueled and takes off for the Netherlands, for example, is that export or not? Many other such questions arise," Aleksiev said.
He urged against speculations on the issue.