Drushpa pipeline spill cuts Russian oil flow to Germany

  • The leak was discovered by Poland late Tuesday
  • Poland says the leak was accidental and not sabotage
  • Germany says its reduced crude supply is sufficient
  • The Schwedt refinery serving Berlin has some alternatives

WARSAW, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Germany said on Wednesday it was getting less oil, but still had sufficient supplies, following a Polish spill at the Druzhba pipeline that supplies crude oil from Russia to Europe. nasty job.

A leak on a main line carrying oil to Germany was discovered on Tuesday evening, operator PERN said, as Europe became increasingly wary of its energy security as a result of cuts to gas supplies after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Drone footage showed the oil spill from an underground pipeline spreading across farmland and surrounded by fire engines and other emergency crews.

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“Security of supply in Germany is currently guaranteed,” an economy ministry spokesman told Reuters. “Refineries in Schwedt and Leuna continue to receive crude oil via the Druzhba pipeline.”

The Schwedt refinery, which supplies 90% of Berlin’s fuel, said deliveries were taking place, but at limited capacity.

Germany said it expects more information from Poland soon about the cause of the leak and how to fix it.

Europe has been on high alert about the security of its energy infrastructure since last month’s discovery of major leaks in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines that run from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Europe. Both the West and Russia accused it of sabotage.

Polish security services spokesman Stanislaw Zarin told Reuters that all possible causes of the leak were being considered.

Mateusz Berger, the top official in charge of Poland’s energy infrastructure, said it was mostly “accidental damage”, adding that at this stage there was “no evidence” to believe it was sabotage.

Berger said the spill occurred 70 km (44 miles) west of the block, home to Poland’s largest refinery, owned by PKN Orlan. As a result, part of the pipeline’s capacity heading toward Germany is unavailable, he said, adding that repairs “won’t take long.”

Later in the evening, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said it was too early to say whether the spill was accidental damage or sabotage.

“… Many steps point straight to the Kremlin, but we want to be very responsible and only then confirm our assumptions,” he told Polish state-owned radio broadcaster PR3.

Russia is the number one supplier of German oil

The Drushba oil pipeline, which means “friendship” in Russian, is one of the world’s largest, supplying Russian oil to much of Central Europe, including Germany, Poland, Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria.

Russia’s state-owned pipeline monopoly Transneft said it would continue pumping oil to Poland.

PKN Orlan of Poland (PKN.WA) Czech pipeline operator MERO said it saw no change in flows from the Czech Republic, but said supplies to its block refinery were not disrupted.

“The main action (we are taking) is to drain the liquid, find the leak and stop it,” fire brigade spokeswoman Karol Kierzkowski told state broadcaster TVP Info, adding there was no danger to the public.

Firefighters in Poland’s central-northern Kujawsko-Pomorskie region said they pumped about 400 cubic meters of oil and water from the site in the middle of a cornfield.

Bern reported that the second line of the Drushba pipeline is working as usual.

The combined capacity of the western part of the two lines, which carry oil from central Poland to Germany, is 27 million tons of crude oil per year.

Germany’s Schwedt refinery, which serves Berlin, has few alternatives to serve its crude needs, so Druzhba would be hard pressed if supplies were interrupted.

The German government aims to eliminate oil imports from Russia by the end of the year under EU sanctions. But in the first seven months of the year, Russia was still its primary supplier, accounting for just 30% of oil imports.

Druzhba will be instrumental in delivering oil through the Polish port of Gdansk while Germany seeks alternative supplies for Schwedt.

The German government is in talks to get oil from Kazakhstan to supply Shvet, but that oil must also flow to Germany through the Drushpa pipeline.

Berlin has rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer to supply gas to Europe via Nord Stream 2 this winter – refusing to allow Germany to operate the new pipeline. If Russia wants to send gas, it can do so via Nord Stream 1, a government spokesman said.

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Report by Reuters Bureaus; Written by Alan Charlish and Marek Strelecki; Editing by John Harvey and Elaine Hardcastle

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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