Belarus Now Receiving Clean Russian Oil after Weeklong Contamination

The state-run oil-transport firm of Belarus, Belneftekhim, has said “clean” Russian oil shipments have begun to arrive in Belarus via the Druzhba pipeline after a weeklong shutdown caused by the contamination of Russian supplies, RBC reports.

Petroleum contaminated with organic chloride compounds was removed from the Druzhba oil pipeline to enable renewed imports, the company said.

A statement by Belneftekhim on May 2 said Russian oil was being transported via the pipeline to the Mozyr oil refinery in southeastern Belarus.

On April 25, Belarusian pipeline operator Gomeltransneft Druzhba announced an “indefinite” cut to Russia oil deliveries through Belarus using the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline.

The move was prompted by complaints from oil purchasers in Poland, Germany, and Slovakia who refused to accept or process Russian crude because it was contaminated with chloride.

Ukraine’s Ukrtansnafta on April 26 also announced that it was stopping the transit of Russian oil through Ukraine and warned of the threat of a “complete shutdown” of the Druzhba pipeline – the main export route for sending oil to Europe from Russia and Kazakhstan.

Slovakian oil company Slovnaft says that, under an agreement reached with Russia’s Energy Ministry, it expects clean Russian oil deliveries by the middle of May.

Belarus has said deliveries via the Druzhba pipeline could reach 60 to 70 percent of capacity by May 10, but it could take months to completely restore clean Russian oil deliveries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the contamination of Russian oil supplies had caused “very serious” damage to his country’s reputation as an oil exporter, and to Russia’s oil infrastructure.

Russian oil giant Transneft has blamed a small private company for the contamination that caused the shutdown.