3 Sep 2019 12:46

Rosneft calls on Transneft to apologize to Schroeder for comments on Druzhba letter

MOSCOW. Sept 3 (Interfax) - Rosneft has called on Transneft to apologize to the state oil major's chairman, Gerhard Schroeder for what it said were unacceptable comments the oil pipeline monopoly made regarding a letter the former German chancellor wrote to the Russian government concerning the contamination of oil in the Druzhba export pipeline earlier this year.

Germany's Economic Affairs Ministry sent a letter to Russia's Energy Ministry voicing concerns about the consequences of off-spec oil in the Druzhba pipeline, Rosneft said in a statement on its website.

"Transneft is well aware of the content of this document. Gerhard Schroeder's letter to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, among other things, reflects the position of European consumers and contains carefully elaborated proposals that are common in world practice and supported by industry experts to ensure the energy security of Russia, Germany, and other EU countries, and relieve Russian oil suppliers of long-term reputational and economic risks," Rosneft said.

"The fate of all of the off-spec crude remains undecided, the claims of injured freight shippers and their counterparties have not been resolved, the problem of guaranteeing the quality of crude in transport has not been decided, and reputational risks for Russia as a reliable supplier are growing as unresolved claims are filed, while constructive proposals such as the initiative of Gerhard Schroeder are subjected to public aspersions," Rosneft said.

"At the beginning of August, Transneft publicly stated at meetings at the Energy Ministry of Russia that it intends to supply oil with [organic chloride] concentrations of up to 6 ppm to oil refineries in the Central Region and to the Port of Primorsk. This means that export shipments through the Primorsk marine terminal will contain prohibitive properties for European oil refineries, which will lead to another blow to Russia's reputation as a reliable supplier," Rosneft said.

"In turn, we have acknowledgement that tainted oil will continue to be mixed with quality crude delivered into the system by freight shippers (blending). Rosneft is categorically opposed to this method of solving the problem, since this will lead to artificially worsening the quality of crude in the process of transportation. The company insists that consumers should receive oil that meets the specifications of the oil delivered into the system," Rosneft said.

The company said Schroeder is a "friend of Russia, one of the most respected European politicians, who has honestly and consistently advocated for the development of cooperation with Russia in the area of energy resource supplies to Europe."

"It bears keeping in mind that Mr. Schroeder is the chairman of the board of directors of Nord Stream 2, which is under constant pressure from competitors and geopolitical opponents of Russia. In this connection, we would consider it a manifestation of responsibility and decency on the part of the management of Transneft to apologize to Gerhard Schroeder over the improper and unprovoked public comments an employee of the company made about him," Rosneft said.