Czech PM assures of sufficient energy reserves for now following Russia’s gas cut-off to Poland and Bulgaria

Czech Republic's Prime Minister Petr Fiala, left, welcomes Poland's President Andrzej Duda, right, as they meet in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
By M B
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Czechia now has oil reserves for three months, gas reserves for two summer months, and nuclear fuel reserves for two to three years, the country’s Prime Minister Petr Fiala revealed during proceedings in the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday.

Fiala was responding to questions concerning the energy self-sufficiency of the Czech Republic in connection with Russia stopping deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria. Czechia is one of the European countries most dependent on Russian gas and Fiala’s remarks came at the heel of the former Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s warning of a possible “return to Middle Ages.” Fiala said that oil reserves were now good enough for 94 days while gas reserves would be sufficient for two summer months.

Also on Thursday, the Minister of Industry Jozef Síkela issued an extraordinary measure which ordered that gas storage facilities in the Czech Republic should be 80 percent full before the heating season.

“We will take every step to fill the tanks before next winter,” Fiala told the chamber. According to the Minister of Industry Jozef Síkela, the plan is to fill the tanks to at least 80 percent, compared to the usual 30 percent. The state will have to work with the private sector on this as the market in the Czech Republic has long been fully liberalized.

According to the prime minister, the Temelín Nuclear Power Plant has a supply of nuclear fuel for two years, and the Dukovany Nuclear Power Plant for three years. Future fuel for Temelín will not be provided by Russia but by France and the United States.

“We are at the end of all routes”

According to Fiala, the Czech Republic has succeeded in ensuring that the energy security of EU members will be secured by the sharing of gas, and Fiala reiterated his support for designating nuclear energy as a supported clean energy source.

Russia cannot recognize which gas goes to the Czech Republic as the country is at the end of all pipeline routes, the Czech prime minister claimed. However, this also means that the landlocked country does not have access to coastal LNG terminals which could become problematic.

Fiala also assured the chamber that suppliers should meet Czechia’s demand in the case of brown coal. Regarding black coal, there is a possibility that Poland could limit deliveries, and this is something Fiala plans to discuss with his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki during Fiala’s upcoming visit to Warsaw.

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