24 Jun 2019 17:28

Belarus tightens control over quality of oil arriving from Russia - Gomeltransneft Druzhba

MINSK. June 24 (Interfax) - Belarus is tightening control over oil coming through the Druzhba pipeline from Russia, Gomeltransneft Druzhba's Chief Engineer Andrei Verigo told the in-house journal of the Belarusian state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim.

"Whereas we used to monitor only oil coming to the Mozyr station - that is, oil that'd already arrived in Belarus - now a laboratory is being rapidly created at the Gomel station, as well, which will monitor the crude for basic quality indicators when it enters the country," Verigo said.

"Metering stations to be built on the border with Russia and Poland are currently being designed," he said.

Daily acceptance tests will be carried out at Mozyr for every shipment of oil, rather than the earlier periodic tests (at least once every 10 days). "Taking into account the danger of these particles for technological equipment and, in general, the risks for transport, this testing should be done for every shipment of oil. The testing is becoming acceptance testing, which is written into regulatory documents that OJSC Gomeltransneft Druzhba and PJSC Transneft are guided by," he said.

"Approaches to safety envisage that we ensure the delivery and acceptance of oil coming into the country with respect to its meeting both quality and quantity standards and thereby guarantee that the economic interests of our country are respected," Verigo said.

"In general, the approaches to safety are the same as they were before, we're just improving them to increase the rapidity with which we react to abnormal circumstances," he said.

"We have to create a new level of safety so that situations like the one in April become fundamentally impossible. There simply didn't use to be such cases; there were fluctuations in water content, insignificant excesses in the sulfur indicator, and so on," Verigo said.

"OJSC Gomeltransneft Druzhba is planning to meet 2020 with systems for recording the quality and quantity of oil prepared. We set out our position during the negotiation process at the level of the Russian Energy Ministry," he said.

Verigo also said that the company carries out regular checks of the walls of the pipelines and reservoirs in which oil contaminated with organic chlorides is being stored.

"The thickness of the walls at eight sections of the pipeline and two reservoirs in which oil with organic-chloride concentrations of over 200 ppm is being monitored weekly. Monitoring in May didn't reveal any noticeable changes in the thickness of the walls of the reservoirs or pipelines," Verigo said.

"In connection with situation taking shape at OJSC Gomeltransneft Druzhba, a schedule for additional diagnostic work has been prepared [...] and sections of the pipeline located in open country and liable to overheat, as well as the reservoir park, have been taken under special control," he said.

"We're planning to create an accredited laboratory (to ISO-17025 standards) by the end of the year, expand the field of radiographic-control activity, and fully switch to monitoring weld seams using our own capacities," Verigo said, adding that "unique equipment" is now being procured for the lab. As a result, "the accredited laboratory for non-destructive testing will be able to carry out all kinds of work, including for third-party organizations, and issue documents following an international form and with an international level of trust."

This year, "we're planning to carry out diagnostics at about 80% of all pipelines. [...] To the east, this is the entire section from the border with Russia to Mozyr; to the west, the DN700 and DN800 pipelines; to the south, there's also the entire section from Mozyr to Brody," Verigo said.