26 Apr 2019 11:49

Ukraine suspends transit of Russian oil to Europe

KYIV. April 26 (Interfax-Ukraine) - JSC Ukrtransnafta has been forced to suspend transit of oil via the Mozyr-Brody trunk oil pipeline at 21:43 on April 25, 2019.

"The company, in particular, made the decision guided by a contract on the provision of oil transportation services through the territory of Ukraine. According to the terms of this contract, Ukrtransnafta has the right to stop accepting Russian oil if the raw materials do not comply with quality requirements. All material losses are imposed on the party that has not fulfilled its responsibilities," Ukrtransnafta said in a statement.

In addition, Ukrtransnafta resorted to these steps in connection with the refusal to accept substandard Russian oil at the Budkovets point (Slovakia) and because of the lack of vacant tanks at the Fenyeslitke point (Hungary).

Ukrtransnafta said that it was difficult to identify possible dates for the resumption of transit of Russian oil, recalling that the discussion of the situation by the Druzhba operators was scheduled for noon on Friday in Minsk.

The company told Interfax-Ukraine that European contracting parties have already declared that they are not ready to accept low-quality oil. At the same time, its storage by Ukrtransnafta in its reservoir park in Brody will certainly harm the equipment.

Late on April 19, Belneftekhim said that the quality of oil coming from the Russian pipeline had sharply deteriorated. According to the company's data, the content of chloroogranic compounds in Urals crude being received via the Gomeltransneft Druzhba pipeline was tens of times greater than standard limits.

As such, both Belarusian refineries - JSC Mozyr Refinery in the Gomel Region and JSC Naftan in the Vitebsk Region reported that there was a threat of equipment being damaged and reduced refining by nearly 50%.

In connection with this, Belarus was compelled to cease export of light petroleum products to Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries on April 23 due to receipt of low-quality Russian oil.

Late on April 24, Gomeltransneft Druzhba halted the transit of low-quality Russian oil to Europe after the operator of the Polish segment of Druzhba, PERN, announced that refineries in Poland and Germany could not accept or refine oil with such characteristics. At 10 p.m. Warsaw time, they halted the transit of oil into Poland at the Adamovo checkpoint indefinitely.

According to Andrei Verigo, Gomeltransneft Druzhba's chief engineer, "in the west, the oil pipeline from Mozyr to the west has been fully halted, the gate valves are closed."

"Delivery of oil through the other branch in volumes necessary for transit to Ukraine is continuing. This is about 40,000 tonnes per day," he said.

On Thursday, Belarus and Russian agreed to hold emergency negotiations in Minsk on April 26 between the heads of oil transit operators from Belarus (JSC Gomerltransneft Druzhba), Russia (Transneft), Poland (PERN S.A. ) and Ukraine (Ukrtransnafta) due to the threat of a full stoppage of the Druzhba trunk pipeline system.