Russia’s Energy Minister sets up commission to check oil quality in Druzhba pipeline


MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. Russia’s Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, on behalf of the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, created an interdepartmental commission to inspect violations of the quality indicators of oil transported via the Druzhba main oil pipeline, the Ministry of Energy reported on Saturday.

«The commission will include heads and deputies of federal government agencies, including the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Federal Antimonopoly Service, the Federal Agency on Subsoil Use, the Federal Environmental Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service, the Federal Agency on Technical Regulation and Metrology, and Transneft,» the report said.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to conduct an investigation on the Druzhba pipeline involving special services, if corporate investigation is not enough. «In order to understand what happened there, an investigation should be conducted,» Putin said, answering a question from TASS at a press conference following his visit to China. «First of all, it is necessary to conduct an investigation at the level of Transneft and identify what and why happened. This investigation is being carried out now. If internal corporate investigation is not enough, I do not rule out that we will conduct a more thorough investigation with the help of law enforcement agencies and special services,» he said.

Head of the administration of the Belarusian leader Natalya Kochanova said earlier that the Presidents of Belarus and Russia, Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin, during a meeting in Beijing, discussed the issue of supplying low-quality oil to Belarusian refineries.

On April 19, the Belarusian concern Belneftekhim reported a sharp deterioration of the quality of the Russian oil running through the Druzhba oil pipeline and subsequently informed pipeline operators from other countries about the situation. The content of chlororganic compounds in the oil showed excess of limit value by ten folds, the company said.

On April 23, Belarus suspended exports of light oil products to Ukraine, Poland and Baltic countries due to poor quality oil supplied to its refineries. Poland also refused to accept Russian crude delivered via the Druzhba pipeline.

The Russian authorities admitted the fact that the oil supplied via the pipeline is of poor quality, but said the problem was technical and would be resolved soon. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak vowed that crude of proper quality would reach the Belarusian border on April 29.

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