MINSK, May 15 / TASS /.Belarus Deputy Prime Minister Igor Lyashenko will hold talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak on oil issues during a working visit to Moscow on May 16, told reporters Kozak's aide Ilya Jus on Wednesday.
"On May 16, the Belarus Deputy Prime Minister will hold talks in Moscow with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, on oil issues. Apart from the general issues of cooperation in the energy sector, they will probably discuss the results of work to restore the Druzhba pipeline," Jus said.
Earlier today, a representative of the office of the Council of Ministers of Belarus told TASS that Lyashenko would make a working visit to Moscow on May 16, where he would meet with Kozak to discuss oil issues.
On April 19, the Belarusian petrochemical company Belneftekhim reported a sharp deterioration in the quality of the Russian oil running through the Druzhba 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.
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. On April 29, Russian oil meeting the technical regulations reached the Unecha delivery station of the Druzhba pipeline near the Belarusian border.
On May 12, the Mozyr Refinery in Belarus started refining of marketable oil and is increasing the capacity utilization to the optimal limit, Belneftekhim Company reports. "On May 11, 2019, the Mozyr Refinery involves in processing oil with quality indicators meeting the standard and starts increasing capacity utilization to the optimal value," Belneftekhim says. The oil pipeline operator Gomeltransneft Druzhba also "continues oil pumping over one line of the main oil pipeline in the direction of Ukraine," the Belarusian company reports. Naftan, another Belarusian refinery, is working with the reduced utilization rate. "Oil pumped over the non-contaminated Surgut-Polotsk oil pipeline is not sufficient for the optimal load of the company," Belneftekhim, says.
Gomeltransneft Druzhba "is ready to increase volumes of oil transit pumping," the Belarusian company says. The pipeline operator performs sampling of each lot of incoming Russian crude oil. Results of analysis evidence oil conformity to the state standard.
Last week, , Energy Minister Alexander Novak said at a government meeting that the situation around crude supplies through the Druzhba pipeline following the contamination of oil with organic chlorides will be resolved in the second half of May.
"As for generally normalizing the situation, we expect it in the second half of May," he said. "That work is underway, normalization means clearing one after one line in each of the main export directions," Novak explained.
The minister added that on May 4, on oil was supplied to the Mozyr refinery in Belarus, while on May 6, ‘clean’ oil was pumped towards the Brody metering unit to be supplied to European consumers. "The pumping of on spec oil also continues towards the port of Ust-Luga, we expect it to reach the port early on May 8," he said.
According to Novak, prompt efforts were made to isolate the contaminant source from the main pipeline system and redirect the flows for clearing one of the lines of the Druzhba pipeline.