13 May 2019 09:45

Gomeltransneft Druzhba notifies Transneft about readiness to increase oil transit amount

MINSK. May 11 (Interfax) - JSC Gomeltransneft Druzhba has notified JSC Transneft about its readiness to increase Russian oil transit amounts, Belneftekhim said in a statement on Saturday.

"Employees of an accredited laboratory of JSC Gomeltransneft Druzhba take samples of each batch of Russian oil consistent with their monitoring system. Results of instant and integrated [multiple samples taken during the day] tests confirm oil's compliance with GOST standards," the statement said.

"JSC Gomeltransneft Druzhba is ready to increase oil transit amounts, and has conveyed this information to JSC Transneft," it said.

As of May 11, JSC Mozyr Oil Refinery is refining quality oil and is raising its output to optimal, Belneftekhim said.

"JSC Naftan is running low. There is not enough oil supplied through the uncontaminated Surgut-Polotsk pipeline for its optimal production mode," it said.

According to the Gomeltransneft Druzhba dispatcher service, oil is also being pumped through a trunk pipeline's section in the direction of Ukraine.

"Belneftekhim and its entities are estimating the damage with the assistance of independent experts," Belneftekhim said.

Belneftekhim reported the supply of inferior oil from Russia in the evening of April 19. Gomeltransneft Druzhba suspended the transit of "contaminated" Russian oil to Europe on April 24 after the Druzhba pipeline's Polish sector operator PERN said that refineries in Poland and Germany could not accept and process such oil.

Both Belarusian refineries - JSC Mozyr Oil Refinery in the Gomel region and JSC Naftan in the Vitebsk region - reported the risk of damage to equipment and cut the oil refining amounts almost 50%. They also had to suspend exports of light petroleum products to Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic republics.

The Russian Energy Ministry confirmed that Russian oil was contaminated with dichloroethane, a toxic substance used as a grease and paraffin solvent which has strong corrosive properties. According to Transneft, the oil was intentionally contaminated in the Samara-Unecha section. The Russian Energy Ministry set up an investigative commission.

The supply of quality Russian oil through the Druzhba pipeline to Belarus began in the afternoon of May 2 after Belarus fully stopped the transportation of contaminated oil on April 30.

Belneftekhim reported on May 4 that "clean" Russian oil reached the Mozyr station of JSC Gomeltransneft Druzhba. The Mozyr Oil Refinery was due to start refining the oil on May 6. The refining was not reported as of May 10.

According to Belneftekhim, over 1 million tonnes of inferior oil had amassed in the republic's territory. The total amount of inferior oil in pipelines in the territories of Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine was estimated at 5 million tonnes.