JEDDAH, May 19. /TASS/. Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry expects that the issue on the damage from contamination of the Druzhba oil pipeline will be ironed out at the level of KazTransOil and Transneft, Kazakh Deputy Energy Minister Magzum Mirzagaliyev told reporters on Sunday.
"The relations between KazTransOil and Transneft are very long and friendly. That’s why I believe that we should not make any great tragedy out of this, we will discuss this in the framework of our partnership relations," Mirzagaliyev said on the sidelines of the Joint OPEC/Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee’s meeting.
According to the deputy minister, there have been no exact assessments on the volume of Kazakhstan’s oil affected by the contamination. "This is an issue, which we have yet to study. There aren’t any assessments on the financial loss. We will discuss this between KazTransOil and Transneft," he said, noting that the talks may begin soon.
Earlier reports said nearly 600,000 tonnes or six tankers of Kazakh oil had been contaminated during the transportation through the Druzhba pipeline.
On April 19, the Belarusian petrochemical company Belneftekhim reported a sharp deterioration in the quality of Russia’s Urals oil running through the pipeline. Both Belarusian refineries - the Mozyr 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.
Oil meeting the standards reached the Belarusian border through the Druzhba pipeline on May 2. The pollutant was revealed at the Samara-Unecha section. Russia’s oil pipeline operator Transneft stressed that this was a deliberate contamination.
A criminal case has been launched into the incident. Russian Investigative Committee Spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko told reporters that the companies had loaded contaminated oil into the Druzhba oil pipeline in order to conceal multiple oil thefts.