Russia’s oil industry was plunged into crisis in April when buyers discovered it was shipping oil contaminated with organic chloride, a chemical used in oil recovery but which can damage refining equipment.
PKN Orlen said it had agreed a deal in April to buy a cargo of Russian oil before any contamination was found. It said the crude was being diluted with clean oil so it could be processed in its Lithuanian refinery. The firm did not name the seller.
Since the dirty oil crisis began, several tankers loaded with the tainted crude have struggled to sell their cargoes. The tanker Mendeleev Prospect was loaded from Russia’s Ust-Luga port on April 24, at a time when organic chloride levels in oil stored at the port was much higher than normal.
The two sources said the contaminated oil was stored in Klaipeda and transported by rail in stages to PKN Orlen’s refinery in the Lithuanian city of Mazeikiai.
“It’s only possible to refine this oil if you mix it with large amounts of clean Urals, so it will be a long process,” a trader in Russian oil market told Reuters.
Refinitiv Eikon trade flows data show the company discharged 72,700 tons of crude at Klaipeda port in Lithuania on June 29.
Russia’s oil production in the past few days has recovered to the ceiling that Moscow has pledged in the OPEC+ deal, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday, after output had dropped to nearly three-year lows in the first days of July.