Date: 13 September 2019

Quality Check-ups and Compensations: Rows Continue over Druzhba Failure

Following massive pollution of oil running through the Druzhba pipeline in Russia, attempts are being made to make settlements and play up financial responsibility for what happened. So far no new mechanisms have been pushed forward to monitor the quality of oil in Russian pipelines in an effort to stop similar failures striking a blow into the entire energy sector in the future.


Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft has spoken out against independent surveyors taking mandatory part in oil quality check-ups. Once established, such an institution would need to 24/7 control quality of oil both received by and shipped from the pipeline network. The pipeline’s operator insists that worldwide organizations deal with oil quality check-up shoulder virtually no responsibility for the credibility of results towards customers. Transneft says that independent specialists could be involved in controlling the oil quality only if such a will is expressed by interested parties, seeking further check-ups to take place, yet voluntarily and at the expense of the entity that orders the service. In this way, the Russian oil pipeline operator responded to a proposal submitted by Chairman of Rosneft’s Board of Directors Gerhard Schroeder who had called for appointing independent surveyors charged with monitoring the quality of Russian-sourced oil. While Russia sees public disputes over what kind of measures should be adopted to examine the quality of oil in Transneft’s pipeline, Belarus has launched internal testing of Russian oil coming on stream. From August 1, Gomeltransneft Druzhba, which operates the southern branch of Druzhba main oil pipeline in Belarus, perform internal examinations of oil in terms of organic chlorides. An additional workplace of a laboratory assistant was set at Gomel while talks are underway on setting up new oil metering units on the border with Russia and Poland.

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In a report published, Russian oil company Lukoil said that it received complaints from its customers over tainted oil flows running through the Druzhba pipeline in the second quarter of 2019. The firm’s management says that it is currently assessing the claim’s credibility but believes that even their having to compensate for all losses incurred should not have a huge negative impact of the company’s financial balance. Lukoil has announced that after evaluating all losses its clients had suffered it stands ready for submitting its claims to Transneft that operates the pipeline network. For its part, Rosneft has informed Transneft about its demands, yet without defining specific amounts to be repaid. As read in the company’s statements, it insists that Transneft pay compensation both for damages incurred by dirty oil injected into the pipeline and losses that stemmed from its stoppage. This presented a blow into Rosneft’s export capacities while affecting its output levels. In July, the oil firm’s production went down by 11 percent from the average production level in June.

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