All of the contaminated oil in the Druzhba pipeline will be pumped back to Russia by the middle of August, said Andrei Verigo, chief engineer at the Belarusian company Gomeltransneft Druzhba, which oversees the transit of Russian oil to Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Verigo says that since 24 May, more than 200,000 tons of oil contaminated with organochlorides has been pumped back to Russia, while just under a million tons remains in Belarus. 868,000 tons of oil will be pumped from Belarus’s Mozyr dispatcher station to Russia’s Unecha station, explains the Belarusian news agency Belapan. Once the dirty oil has been discharged, transit to Poland can resume, since it receives Russian oil through the Mozyr station.
The 5,100 km long Druzhba crude oil pipeline passes through eight European countries and is considered the longest in the world. At the end of April, Russia had to suspend oil transit through the pipeline due to a serious contamination incident. Belarus temporarily suspended its light oil product exports (petrol and diesel fuel) to Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states due to the sharp decline in the quality of the Russian oil arriving at its refineries.
Experts estimate that the chloride-contaminated oil has caused hundreds of millions of euros of damage to the refinery equipment in Belarus that it came in contact with. The Polish government insists that the northern line of the pipe, which passes through Poland and ends in Germany, will only resume transit once Berlin and Warsaw reach a compensation agreement with Moscow.