STRATEGIC ROLE OF OIL PIPELINES IN EU ENERGY SUPPLY
The oil pipelines have a strategic importance in the energy supply of the European Union (EU), especially given the fact that in the next two decades the crude oil will continue to be a dominant energy source, accounting for approx. 30% of the primary energy consumption, along with a reduction in the petroleum product consumption and growth in renewables.
Europe has a widespread network of oil pipelines of approx. 22,5 thousand kilometres (without Russia), connecting refineries to import oil ports or to land-based crude oil sources. The refineries of the Central Eastern Europe are supplied mainly from the Druzhba oil pipeline. Recently, these refineries have diversified their crude oil supply routes and sources, by sea imports from the North Sea, the Middle East, Canada and others (Poland) or by the TAL – IKL oil pipelines (Czech Republic) and the JANAF oil pipeline (Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic). Given the insufficient diversification of crude oil supply precisely of the Central Eastern European region, particularly the landlocked countries (and refineries respectively), the EU has envisaged, among the projects of common interests, also six connection oil pipelines with terminals. At the same time, they are the only pipelines planned to be constructed in Europe and financed by the oil companies’ funds.
The oil pipeline and storage companies, as well as other oil companies, have a social responsibility as regards the energy supply, yet also a responsibility as regards their successful performance and development, thus investing considerable funds into modernisations, upgrades, protection, safety and security, etc. The oil pipeline companies hastily modify their strategies by expanding business and becoming more and more transport-storage-energy oriented, and by investing in the flow reversal of oil pipelines and connection pipelines, storage capacities, as well as in enhancement of efficiency and flexibility of oil pipeline and storage infrastructures.