Croatia ready to increase Adriatic oil pipeline capacity, Hungary says

(Reuters) - Croatia is ready to increase the capacity of the Adriatic oil pipeline to supply Hungary and Slovakia with crude in case of any disruptions to imports from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline, Hungary's foreign minister said.

European Union leaders gave concessions to Hungary in order to agree an oil embargo on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, sealing a deal in the early hours of Tuesday that aims to cut 90% of Russia's crude imports into the bloc by the end of the year.

With its embargo the bloc aims to reduce Moscow's income to finance the war it launched more than three months ago in Ukraine, but it exempted landlocked Hungary because the country relies on the Druzhba pipeline for oil.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said he had reached a long-term energy security co-operation agreement with Croatia's energy minister, whereby Hungary's southern neighbour would provide an alternative route for possible additional oil imports, if needed.

"Croatia is ready to provide a route for oil shipments towards Hungary, should they become necessary," Szijjarto said, adding that Hungarian energy group MOL would start talks with Croatian officials later in the day.

MOL's downstream business model has been built on Russian crude shipped via the Druzhba pipeline that covers about 65% of the oil Hungary needs.

Shares in MOL rose more than 5% early on Tuesday after the EU exempted Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia from sanctions on Russian oil.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Krisztina Than; editing by David Evans and Susan Fenton)

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