Slovakia gets Czech backing for exemption to Russian-origin oil products

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Friday he supported Slovakia’s request to continue exports of fuel produced from Russian oil to the Czech Republic beyond a Dec. 5 deadline.

Slovnaft, Slovakia’s sole refiner, owned by Hungary’s MOL, has sought to cut the share of Russian oil in its processing activities this year to about 60%, from about 95%.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on Russian crude, although Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary have exemptions while they shift to new sources. An exemption allowing Slovnaft to export its products produced from Russian oil to the Czech Republic is due to expire next month.

Slovakia is seeking a longer exemption. Without it, Slovnaft would lose exports to its neighbour and produce only for domestic markets, it says.

“We understand Slovakia needs time and therefore we are supporting this request by Slovakia,” Fiala told a news conference after meeting Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico in Prague.

Fico said Slovakia was on a “good path” to getting the exemption extended.

Hungary said earlier this year it would also seek a one-year extension that will allow Slovnaft to export products made from Russian oil.

(Reporting by Jason Hovet; editing by David Evans)