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26 May, 2024 09:49

Russia and Poland resolve oil transit issue - Reuters

The Polish operator of the Druzhba pipeline had reportedly faced equipment certification problems due to the EU’s sanctions against Moscow
Russia and Poland resolve oil transit issue - Reuters

The Russian and Polish operators of the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline have resolved an issue which could have stopped Kazakh oil from reaching Germany in June, Reuters reported Friday.

Poland’s state-owned pipeline operator PERN had allegedly run into equipment certification problems, amid concerns it could violate the sanctions the European Union has imposed on Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

The pipeline’s leg which traverses Belarus and Poland has been pumping Kazakh oil to Germany since last December. Most of the Central Asian country’s oil is exported via Russia.

On Friday, Reuters, citing anonymous sources, reported that the state-owned Russian company Transneft had warned Kazakhstan in April that the transit of its oil could stop in June. The Polish pipeline operator had reportedly expressed concern that by servicing Russian flow meters, it could find itself in breach of the EU’s sanctions against Russia.
Transneft and Germany’s PCK Schwedt refinery eventually agreed that a Slovak company would provide metering servicing for the Polish section of the pipeline, Reuters reported. 

Kazakhstan’s state oil company KazMunayGaz revealed on Tuesday that it had extended the contract to supply its German customer until the end of the year, with exports expected to reach 1.2 million metric tons in 2024.

Built in the 1960s, the pipeline has two legs, spans 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles), and connects Russian and Kazakh oil suppliers with consumers in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.

It once had a transit volume of two million barrels per day, but this has fallen since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, with Germany stopping Russian oil imports in January 2023 and Moscow halting exports of its own fuel to Poland the following month.

Last August, the Washington Post, citing leaked Pentagon documents, claimed that Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky had entertained blowing up part of the pipeline earlier in 2023.