Czech Republic Set to Ditch Russian Oil by Mid-2025, PM Announces Pipeline Upgrade

(Reuters) — The Czech Republic will end its use of Russian oil no later than the first half of 2025 as state pipeline firm MERO completes a capacity upgrade on the Transalpine Pipeline (TAL), Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on Tuesday.

The government has sought to eliminate all dependence on Russian oil since Russia invaded Ukraine more than two years ago.

Last year, MERO and the TAL pipeline company — in which MERO holds a 5% stake — signed a deal to boost capacity along the TAL by up to 4 million tons, replacing supplies via the Druzhba pipeline from Russia that have been a mainstay for 60 years.

Fiala told reporters work on the TAL technological upgrades was starting and would finish this year. A testing period would follow.

"We expect its complete launch no later than the first half (of 2025)," he said in a broadcast news conference at an oil storage facility outside Prague.

The country, with a population of 10.9 million, had crude oil needs of 7.4 million tons last year, with more than half coming via Druzhba, and the rest through TAL.

The European Union banned shipments of Russian oil from December 2022, but exempted Druzhba pipeline supplies to give time for a transition for those countries dependent on it.

The TAL link runs from Italy to Germany and hooks up to the IKL pipeline from Germany to the Czech Republic.

After the upgrade, the TAL will roughly double capacity reserved for the Czech Republic to 8 million tons of crude a year, enough to cover the needs of the country's two refineries, both owned by Poland's Orlen.

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