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Belarus suspends exports of petroleum products

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Reuters

Belarus has moved to suspend the exports of light petroleum products to Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states following the supply of low-quality crude oil from Russia, reports the state news agency BELTA quoting Belarusian Oil Company (BNK) Deputy General Manager Siarhei Hryb.

Mr Hryb added that the supplies under the signed contracts are suspended until the quality of the Russian crude oil in the pipeline is restored. Belarus has decided to restrict the exports to ensure that domestic demand for fuel is met during the sowing campaign. According to Mr Hryb, the Belarusian side is making every effort to avoid sanctions for the suspension of supplies in violation of the contractual obligations.

The damage from the exports suspension is yet to be assessed, the BNK top manager stressed. Ukraine, the Baltic states and Poland remain the premium markets for Belarus' petroleum products trade. Belarus continues to export the so called dark petroleum products but mostly to the remote countries via the Baltic Sea ports.

On April 19, Belarus' State Petrochemical Industry Concern Belnaftakhim announced that low-quality oil had been coming from Russia through the Druzhba (Friendship) oil pipeline for a few days.

They said that the oil contained elevated levels of chloride and warned that the substance causes corrosion and may damage heat exchange equipment and catalyst systems.

Mazyr Oil Refinery in the Homyel region was the first to receive low-quality Russian oil. It was expected to reach the Naftan oil refinery, Belarus’ other oil refinery located in Navapolatsk, Vitsyebsk region, on the night between April 21 and 22.

On Monday, the refinery in Mazyr said that its expensive equipment had been damaged by corrosion.