Slovenia declares its intent to help Hungary become less dependent on Russian energy supplies via a pipeline from Algeria.
Slovenia is planning on building a pipeline that would pump Algerian gas into Hungary in a bid to help the latter become less dependent on energy supplies from Russia, Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob said on Tuesday.
“Let’s extend that same hand to our eastern neighbors, [including ] Hungarians… Hungary is totally dependent on Russian gas but it’s not the only one,” Golob told the Financial Times in an exclusive interview.
Austria is in a similar position, the Slovenian premier noted. “The neighbors [must] help them to solve it — they cannot do it on their own.”
Back in November, Slovenia signed an agreement with Algerian that will see Ljubljana importing Algerian gas through preexisting pipelines via Italy, the newspaper said.
The deal reached 300 million cubic meters a year and will reportedly allow the country to slash its imports of Russian gas by a third.
Still, according to the newspaper, despite Budapest reaching deals with neighboring countries to import gas, except for Slovenia, around 85% of Hungary’s gas comes from Russia.
The West has long been looking to reduce Russia’s income from oil and gas – namely since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, with the latest measure being a price cap on Russian oil.
In October, the EU introduced the eighth package of sanctions against Moscow, which included a legislative basis for setting a price cap for maritime shipments of Russian oil to third countries.
Starting from February 5, 2023, the European Union will be introducing a price cap for Russian refined products as well.
The European Union reached an agreement on setting a price cap on Russian oil at $60 a barrel, keeping a review mechanism to keep the price cap at 5% under market value.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in response that the price cap that was imposed on Russian oil abroad is unacceptable for Russia, but Moscow will be analyzing it and deciding how to operate under the new circumstances.
Moscow was anticipating the price cap and is now analyzing the situation, the spokesman underlined.
In light of that, Ukraine suggested on Saturday that the price cap should have been set lower than $60, as it is “insufficient” to penalize Russia. The $60 price cap imposed is not “serious”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday, explaining that the decision was “quite comfortable” for Moscow.
The official claimed that Russia would remain concerned about maintaining the state of its infrastructure, which would be damaged if production is halted, and keeping the confidence of its customers, including China and India.
To benefit or not to benefit
Countries and companies that decide not to apply the price cap can still purchase it but cannot do so through Western companies that provide insurance or transport services.
Another European official stated that there are “clear signals that a number of emerging economies, particularly in Asia, will observe the principles of the cap,” as Russia faces pressure from its clients to provide discounts.
As European companies dominate cargo transport and insurance, the official expressed the complexity and difficulty posed in finding substitutes as “extremely risky”.
To further tighten its grip on Moscow, Brussels announced that “if a third country flagged vessel intentionally carries Russian oil above the price cap, EU operators will be prohibited from insuring, financing, and servicing this vessel for the transport of Russian oil or petroleum products for 90 days after the cargo purchased above the price cap has been unloaded.”
Russia has pledged to stop supplying oil and gas to countries that impose price ceilings. Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, declared last Wednesday that the European Union will have to live without Russian oil starting this year as a repercussion of the price cap imposed on the country’s oil.
He also recalled how Moscow had made it clear that it will supply oil to the countries that supported the price cap that he described as “anti-market“.