Russia’s Oil Production Hit By Druzhba Contamination Scandal: Report

Russia’s oil exports via Transneft pipelines, including Druzhba, dropped 6% during May 1-26 versus the April average, industry sources told Reuters. According to the news agency, the country’s oil production continues to feel the pressure from lower exports after shipments via the Druzhba pipeline to Europe were found to be contaminated in April.

The country’s oil production over the same period totaled 11.126 million barrels per day (bpd), down from 11.147 million bpd on May 1-21, the sources said.

Five million tons of oil was contaminated last month with organic chloride and some of the dirty crude is still stuck in pipelines in Belarus and Eastern Europe.

Russia has managed to take out around 2 million tons of the tainted oil from the pipeline system and agreed with Belarus last week to take back another 1 million tons.

Russia’s energy ministry, which oversees the energy data collection, declined to comment.

The oil contamination crisis, along with reduced exports from OPEC members Iran and Venezuela following U.S. sanctions on both countries, have lifted global oil prices.

Belarus state energy company Belneftekhim said on Monday that Belarus began pumping contaminated oil toward Russia on Friday and by the end of Sunday it had pumped 80,000 tons of it back to Russia.

Following high-level talks in Moscow last week, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said that Russia had confirmed it was ready to pay compensation for damages incurred as a result of the oil contamination.