Russian oil has once again been found to contain levels of organochlorides significantly above European standards. In spring, such contamination resulted in more than a month of downtime on the Druzhba pipeline as EU buyers returned more than a million tons of substandard oil to Russia.
According to RIA Novosti, the Russian oil transport monopoly Transneft has discovered a high chloride content in the oil supplied by Bashneft, making it some of the dirtiest oil in the country.
Bashneft, which was acquired by Transneft in 2016 following a dispute with billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, supplied oil with 4.1-5.2 parts per million (ppm). This is even above the traditional values for Bashneft (3.5-4 ppm), Transneft notes.
Although this figure is acceptable according to GOST, the set of standards used by CIS countries, which requires less than 6 ppm, it is significantly higher than the standards of European refineries, which are accustomed to oil with 1-1.5 ppm.
“Based on the operational results for September, a presentation has been made to the management of Bashneft-Dobycha regarding the background increase according to the mass organic chloride concentration figure,” Transneft’s statement reads.
At the end of August, Gergard Schröder, former chancellor of Germany and current chairman of the board at Rosneft, asked the Russian government to tighten the country’s oil standards, aligning them with European standards (1 ppm), and to reinstate independent quality control.
Transneft agreed to allow independent inspectors, provided that the expenses would be borne by the oil companies themselves. In a comment on the proposal to tighten the standards, Transneft spokesperson Igor Demin suggested that Rosneft should start with itself, implementing its own suggestions.