MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. Russia and Belarus are assuming urgent measures to resume the supplies of the Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline, the spokesperson of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak Ilya Dzhus told reporters on Monday, adding that the sides are to agree the final framework for action in the near future.
"The talks of the joint Russian-Belarusian working party on resumption of Russian crude deliveries via the Druzhba oil pipeline will continue today as separate technical details are still being agreed. Nevertheless, a complex of urgent measures had been agreed as part of the roadmap being developed by May 20, which the two countries are successfully implementing. We expect the work to specify the plan of action to be finished in the near future and the agreed roadmap to be approved by co-chairs of the working party," he said.
The Druzhba oil pipeline provides supplies of oil to the Belarusian refineries and its transit to Europe through Belarus, Poland and Ukraine.
In mid-April, Belneftekhim reported a sharp deterioration in the quality of the Russian oil running through the pipeline. The content of organochloride compounds in Urals crude delivered via the Gomeltransneft Druzhba oil pipeline was dozens of times above the limit value. As a result, both Belarusian refineries - the Mozyr refinery (Gomel region) and Naftan (Vitebsk region) - were forced to reduce the process utilization rate. Belarus also suspended exports of light oil products to Ukraine, Poland and Baltic countries.
The contaminant source was revealed at the Samara-Unecha section. Russia’s oil pipeline operator Transneft said that the Russian oil in the Druzhba pipeline was deliberately contaminated. Law enforcement agencies initiated a respective criminal case, according to the company. Official spokeswoman of the Russian Investigative Committee Svetlana Petrenko told reporters earlier that contaminated oil was loaded into the Druzhba oil pipeline in order to conceal multiple oil thefts.
Moscow and Minsk have set up a working party to develop a framework for action to resume crude supplies via Druzhba, as well as estimate losses due to deliveries of poor quality oil.