4 Oct 2019 14:34

Transneft bears responsibility for quality of oil in system, should participate in control - Kozak spokesman

MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) - Transneft bears material responsibility before oil companies for the quality of oil in the system, and the monopoly must participate in quality control, Ilya Dzhus, spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, told reporters.

"The decisions made at the meeting proceeded from the fact that Transneft has full material liability before oil companies for the quality of oil in the trunk pipeline system, meaning that the company itself must participate directly in quality control when receiving oil at oil-delivery and -acceptance stations," he said.

It was reported earlier that the deputy prime minster chaired a meeting on the quality of oil in the system of trunk pipelines. The transfer of control over oil-delivery and -acceptance stations to the Transneft system was not discussed, one of the participants of the meeting said. "Even in principle, the possibility of shifting control over oil acceptance points to the Transneft system was not discussed, as final responsibility for the quality of oil delivered via the pipeline lies with the owner of the trunk pipelines," the source said.

Specific oil quality parameters with respect to organic chloride compound content should be agreed upon shortly for oil coming in and out of Transneft pipelines, the source said.

The dispute over oil quality control mechanisms began after the Druzhba export pipeline oil contamination incident. As reported, on April 18, oil with elevated levels of organic chloride compounds was discovered at the Mozyr Refinery in Belarus. The source of the contamination was an oil delivery point in Russia's Samara Region. Transit of oil to Europe via the pipeline was stopped and resumed in all directions on June 9. Transneft gave assurances that the Druzhba contamination had not squeezed Russian oil from traditional markets as pipeline supplies from Russia had been replaced by tanker shipments from Russian ports. Transnet diverted some pipeline flows via export terminals.

Transneft chief Nikolai Tokarev proposed at a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in August that his company be given control over third parties' oil-delivery and -acceptance stations. According to Transneft information, there are now roughly 150 of these stations. Most of them belong to oil companies or private firms. "Our representatives are also accredited for them, but we don't have the opportunity to carry out the operational control or operational activity of these stations fully under our regulatory base," Tokarev said.

Gerhard Schroeder, the former German chancellor who chairs the board of directors of Rosneft, wrote to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in September expressing concern about the contamination of oil in the Druzhba pipeline and the damage it caused to Russia's image as a reliable supplier of quality oil and proposed that independent surveyors monitor the quality of oil coming from Transneft's pipelines on a daily basis.