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Russia and Belarus to develop new timetable for Druzhba pipeline resumption

Belneftekhim said in a statement that the parties outlined steps "to clean the pipeline system in Belarus to ensure oil supplies to Poland and Germany"

MOSCOW, May 17. / TASS /. Belneftekhim specialists are developing a new schedule together with their Russian colleagues for replacing oil with pure oil for further transit to European destinations, the company press service reported on Friday.

"At present, the company specialists and its organizations are working in Moscow together with the Russian side, primarily on the technical issues of resuming the Druzhba pipeline operation. A new production schedule is being developed for replacing Transneft’s resources with elevated organochlorine oil with a net for further transit in all Druzhba’s European destinations, as well as in the direction of Naftan, the press service said in a statement.

The statement also says that after the talks between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak met with Belarus Deputy Prime Minister Igor Lyashenko on May 16, and the meeting of the European oil transporters in Bratislava, the parties outlined steps "to clean the pipeline system in Belarus to ensure oil supplies to Poland and Germany". The talks between Kozak and Lyashenko resulted in the optimistic assessment of pipeline's normal operation restoration, and the outcome of the damage compensation negotiations.

On April 19, the Belarusian petrochemical company Belneftekhim reported a sharp deterioration in the quality of the Russian oil running through the pipeline. Both Belarusian refineries - the Mozyrsky refinery (Gomel region) and Naftan (Vitebsk region) - reported the risk of equipment facing damage and almost halved the refining volumes. On April 23, Belarus was forced to halt exports of light oil products to Ukraine, Poland and Baltic countries due to deliveries of poor quality oil.

Poland, Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia suspended crude oil supplies from Russia through the Druzhba oil pipeline. The pollutant was revealed at the Samara-Unecha section. Russia’s Energy Ministry referred to technical issues as the reason for the contamination of the oil, saying that the problem would be ironed out quickly. A criminal case was initiated in connection with the incident.

Supplies of clean Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline to Belarus resumed on May 2. Ukraine resumed oil transit to Europe on May 11. Transneft pipeline operator reported that the supply of standard oil to Slovakia and Hungary will resume between May 21 and May 24. In the near future, the resumption of deliveries to Poland and Germany is also expected.