Putin Suggests Tighter Oil Quality Control after Contamination Scandal

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at the meeting with Transneft CEO Nikolai Tokarev that the Russian oil pipeline operator should revise the system of oil quality control for main oil pipelines, Izvestia reports.

“Self-control is not sufficient,” the head of state said.

“It means that this system should be changed,” Putin said.

“Do this definitely and report to the prime minister,” he added.

The situation with contaminated oil supplied to Belarus over the Druzhba oil pipeline has inflicted very serious economic damages and damages to Russia’s image, Putin said.

The cause of the contamination was in the actions of a private company in the Samara Region, which deliberately discharged oil that had not undergone commercial treatment in contravention of all process regulations, Tokarev said.

“This is pure fraud in the given case, contrary to all instructions and regulatory requirements,” the top manager added.

“They committed fraud, while economic, material damages and damages to the image are very serious for us,” the president said.

The contaminated oil scandal caused refiners and oil firms in Europe to cut purchases of Russian oil by up to a million barrels a day – or 10 percent of European oil imports – in a major disruption to supply from the world’s second largest oil exporter.

The disruption sent oil to a six-month high above $75 a barrel, tarnished Russia’s reputation as an exporter at a time of rising competition with U.S. oil sales and triggered a Russian probe into whether the pipeline had been sabotaged.