Contaminated crude shuts Russian oil pipeline

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 25, 2019 - Duration: 01:07s

Contaminated crude shuts Russian oil pipeline

Germany and Poland have suspended imports from one Russian oil pipeline after the crude was found to be contaminated.

Julian Satterthwaite reports.

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Contaminated crude shuts Russian oil pipeline

Russia has a problem with its oil.

At least some of it is contaminated.

Poland and Germany have suspended imports on the news.

The problem concerns crude flowing through the Druzhba pipeline.

It ships up to one million barrels per day, or about one percent of global demand.

The problem arose last week when an unknown Russian producer contaminated the oil with organic chloride.

That's a chemical used to boost output.

But it should be separated from crude before shipment as it can destroy refining equipment.

With the flow halted in Poland, oil can't reach customers further west in Germany.

That has affected refineries operated by companies including Shell, Total and Rosneft.

Russia's energy ministry now says pipeline operator Transneft is trying to fix the problem.

But it couldn't give any timeframe for a resolution.

Traders say the suspension could trigger legal claims by Western buyers against Russian suppliers.

They in turn will likely want compensation from Transneft.

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