Druzhba Leaks Disrupt German Oil Flows

Germany said on Wednesday it was receiving less oil but still had adequte supplies, after Poland announced it had detected a leak in the Druzhba pipeline that delivers crude oil from Russia to Europe. Poland said the leak was probably caused by an accident. The leak in the main route carrying oil to Germany comes at a time when Europe is alarmed over its security of energy infrastructure after leaks were found on Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which the West and Russia both blamed sabotage.

“After removing most of the contaminants from the area near the crude oil pipeline that was damaged yesterday, PERN’s technical services have located the site of the leak,” Polish pipeline operator PERN said in a statement.

“The first findings and the method of pipeline deformation show that at the moment there are no signs of interference by third parties.”

PERN also said it was working to find out what caused the leak and to repair the pipeline.

Drone footage showed a black stain of oil from the underground pipeline spreading across farmland at the site of the leak, surrounded by fire engines and other emergency teams.

Meanwhile, Germany said its security of supply was currently guaranteed as the country’s Schwedt and Leuna refineries were continuing to receive oil via the Druzhba.

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

Germany also said it was hoping to hear more from Poland about the cause of the leak and how it can be repaired.

Poland’s oil refiner PKN Orlen said supplies to its Plock refinery were not interrupted. Czech pipeline operator MERO also said it had not seen any change in flows.

The second line of the Druzhba pipeline was working as normal, PERN said.

The total capacity of the western section of both lines that carry oil from central Poland to Germany is 27 million tonnes of crude oil per year.

If Druzhba flows are interrupted, Germany’s Schwedt refinery will struggle the most as it has few alternatives to replace Russian crude.

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

While Germany tries to wean off Russian oil imports, Druzhba could still be important in supplying Schwedt via the Gdansk Port in Poland.

The German government has been in talks to secure oil from Kazakhstan to supply Schwedt, but that oil would have to flow to Germany via the Druzhba pipeline too.

Berlin has rejected an offer from Putin to supply gas to Europe via Nord Stream 2 this winter. The new pipeline was completed last year but Germany refused to allow it to be put into operation. If Russia wanted to send gas, it could do so via Nord Stream 1, Germany said.

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