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Belnaftakhim: No clean crude oil in Druzhba pipeline yet

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Belarusian state petrochemical monopoly Belnaftakhim on Monday said the situation with the supplies of low-quality oil from Russia to Belarus through the Druzhba pipeline had not changed. 

On 29 April, a delegation led by Belnaftakhim Deputy General Manager Uladzimir Sizou is in Moscow holding talks at Russia’s Energy Ministry with top managers from Russian oil companies taking part.

"Engineers from the Belarusian companies maintaining the Druzhba pipeline Gomeltransneft Druzhba and Polocktransneft Druzhba have taken all necessary technical measures to be able to receive clean crude oil from the Russian export point of Unecha. Currently, the pipeline on the Belarusian territory remains full with the low-quality oil containing 30 times higher levels of chlorides than normal. The pumping of clean oil through Druzhba has not started yet,” Belnaftakhim said in a statement.

The Belarusian refineries continue to work with reduced load.

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.

The refinery in Mazyr said that its expensive equipment had been damaged by corrosion.

The losses from the missed revenues in April amounted to nearly $100 million, state news agency BELTA reported quoting Belnaftakhim CEO Uladzimir Sizou.

Poland, Germany, Ukraine and other European countries halted the imports of Russian crude.

On 26 April, the Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft admitted that chloride organic compounds were added to the oil. Russian officials opened a criminal case over the deliberate contamination of the crude.