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Ambassador of the Czech Republic: Crude oil exports

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Below are highlights of the testimony given by Petr Gandalovic, Ambassador of the Czech Republic of the US before the US House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Energy & Power hearing on ‘H.R.702, Legislation to Prohibit Restrictions on the Export of Crude Oil.’

“Since 1989 when we reestablished our independence, we have always known that we cannot achieve true state sovereignty without having energy sovereignty. Bearing this in mind, one of the very first steps of our revived independent diplomacy was to start negotiations with Germany on the building of a new transit oil pipeline that would connect us with the Western markets and diminish our previous 100% dependence on oil supplies from the East, namely Russia. This truly strategic decision has successfully materialise in the IKL pipeline, which has connected us via Germany with the Italian seaport of Trieste, at the Adriatic Coast. The existence of that oil pipeline has given us the opportunity to import oil from international markets.”

Natural gas

“We have also done our homework in the area of natural gas. In the nineties, we signed a contract with Norway that diminished our 100% dependence on deliveries from the East. We also built the so called Gazelle gas pipeline that has interconnected our gas transit network with the German one. Thanks to this interconnection we have been significantly integrated with the German so European gas market and, as a result, we also buy natural gas on spot markets in Western Europe. This interconnection with Germany also provides us with an alternative supply route in case of extraordinary supply disruptions from the East.”

Energy security

“Energy security has always been a priority to the Czech Republic. Since 2004, we have been trying hard to emphasise the issue of energy security within the European Union in general. We made energy security one of the official priorities during out EU Presidency in 2009. We led the negotiations during the gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine, finalised the 3rd EU energy package, which is the crucial component of the European energy legislation and organised the so called Southern Corridor Summit.

“Energy security has always been on top of so called Visegrad Group (V4) agenda and is one of the official priorities of its current Czech Presidency. The V4 group strives for energy sources diversification and with its demand reaching 42 billion m3 of natural gas per year and almost 40 000 000 t of oil per year, accounts for an important European regional market. It offers business opportunities to possible new entrants into its energy market.”

Homework first

“As I mentioned earlier, we always keep in mind that we have to do our homework first. Thanks to this approach, I am glad to be able to say that the energy security of the Czech Republic has reached a very good level. Despite the fact that we import move than 90% of our consumption of oil and gas and in both cases the major supplier in Russia, we are able to manage possible disruptions of deliveries from the East.

“It is important to stress that our energy security is based on the assumption that access to the global markets means access to oil and gas exported by countries that see energy as a business and not as a political tool.

“Hence, I would like to reiterate the crucial statement: The larger the number of stable democracies among the world energy exporters, the more robust the energy security of the Czech Republic and the EU will be. Moreover, US energy exports would send a strong signal to the world community that democracies stick together.”

Edited from testimony by Claira Lloyd

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