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Belarus, Poland Stop Accepting Russian Oil Via Druzhba Pipeline, Citing Poor Quality

A section of the Druzhba pipeline in Belarus (file photo)

Poland and Belarus have stopped accepting shipments of Russian oil through the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline, saying Western buyers in Poland and Germany cannot accept the Russian crude because it is contaminated and of poor quality.

Belarus on April 19 announced a sharp deterioration in the quality of oil coming from Russia through the Druzhba pipeline, saying the source of pollution was found within Russia along the pipeline’s Samara-Unecha section.

The Belarusian pipeline operator Gomeltransneft Druzhba described its interruption of deliveries as “indefinite.”

Gomeltransneft Druzhba said on April 25 that it is continuing to send Russian oil to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary through a branch of the pipeline passing through Ukraine.

But the suspension of deliveries through Poland means major buyers of oil are no longer receiving Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline at their refineries in Poland and Germany – including Poland’s PKN Orlen refineries and plants in Germany belonging to Total, Shell, BP, and Rosneft.

Western oil buyers on April 25 told Reuters that the suspension of oil flows could trigger a series of legal claims against Russian suppliers who, in turn, will likely seek compensation from Russia’s Transneft oil monopoly.

The Druzhba pipeline is the world’s longest oil pipeline and one of the world’s largest oil pipeline networks.

Originally built to supply oil to the western parts of the Soviet Union and former Soviet bloc countries in Eastern Europe, it is now the main export route for sending Russian and Kazakh oil to Europe.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, Belsat, TASS, and Interfax