TALLINN – Commenting on the list of companies with import exemptions for Russian oil products published on Tuesday, deputy secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for legal and consular affairs Erki Kodar said that the listed companies informed the ministry that they either have valid contracts or wish to carry out short-term supply transactions, but the use of the exemption is already the company's own decision.
Kodar told BNS that the ministry sent out a letter on June 13 to the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Estonian Oil Association, the Estonian Logistics and Freight Forwarding Association and the Estonian Bar Association regarding the exemption from the restrictive measures of the Council of the European Union for the import of crude oil and oil products. The letter was based on the adoption of the European Union sanctions package at the beginning of June, with which a sanction to the import of crude oil and oil products from the Russian Federation was also added.
"The first exemption established from this restriction is that the ban on the import of crude oil and petroleum products shall not apply until Dec. 5 to such one-off transactions entered into and carried out before that date for the short-term supply of goods falling under CN code 2709 -- crude oils obtained from petroleum and bituminous minerals -- nor in relation to carrying out such contracts entered into before June 4 for the purchase, import or transfer of these goods, nor in relation to additional contracts necessary for carrying out such contracts," the deputy secretary general said.
According to another exception to the restriction established on the import of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia, the ban on the import of crude oil and petroleum products will not be applied until Feb. 5 of the next year to one-time transactions concluded and carried out before that date for the short-term supply of goods falling under CN code 2710 -- petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, other than crude -- nor in relation to carrying out such contracts entered into before June 4 for the purchase, import or transfer of these goods, nor in relation to additional contracts necessary for carrying out such contracts.
"Both exemptions apply provided that the member state has notified the Commission of the contracts in question by June 24, 2022 at the latest and of the one-off short-term supply transactions within ten days of their completion. The companies and their business names in the notice are as of the end of June 2022 and do not reflect subsequent business name changes," Kodar said.
The entrepreneurs thus informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that they either have valid contracts or wish to carry out short-term supply transactions. "Requesting an exemption and informing the European Commission about it ensures that the current contract can be fulfilled until the end of the transition period. The intention to request an exception and to notify about the current contracts shows, however, that the company wants to retain the opportunity to use the exemption until the end of the transition period. Whether it is fulfilled is up to the company," he added.
Estonian fuel and energy trader Alexela announced on Wednesday morning that they have not requested an exemption from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the company, neither the listed Nord Terminals, formerly named Alexela Logistics, nor Alexela Bunkering have applied for an exemption to continue importing Russian oil products, nor do they plan to do so, but instead declared the customer contracts that were valid at the moment of the imposition of sanctions at the request of the ministry.
Member of the management board and CEO of Alexela group Hans Pajoma said that by misleading the public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has damaged the company's reputation and that Nord Terminals and Alexela Bunkering demand that the information, which they deem to be inaccurate, be publicly refuted immediately.
Similar to several other companies, Operail denied on Wednesday that it has applied for an exemption for the import of sanctioned oil products from Russia.
On Aug. 30, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed the named of 28 companies that have, according to the ministry, applied for an exemption to continue importing oil from Russia. These companies are Flexoil OU, Marine Energy Solutions OU, Baltic Marine Bunker AS, Eurodelta OU, Manoir Energy OU, Westnbalticoil OU, SIA ImplexOil, Alexela Bunkering OU, GazTrans Eesti OU, Stacroloft Inc, Fillenergi OU, Himbalt Trade OU, Eesti Aviokutuse Teenuste AS, Aurum Invest OU, Venkon Group OU, LITASCO SA, VNK AS, TRAFIGURA PTE LTD, AS Liwathon E.O.S, AS Operail, United Stream OU, Skinest Veeremi OU, AS NT Bunkering, AS Alexela Logistics, Baltia Trading Company OU, Petrohim International Carriers OU, City Sky OU and Altairbalt OU.