Russia explains halt in oil exports to Poland

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Russian oil flows to Poland have been halted due to the stoppage of payment for deliveries, Russia’s state-owned pipeline transport company Transneft announced on Monday.

Transneft, which operates Russia’s section of the Druzhba pipeline, explained that it transfers oil to other countries in line with the export schedule approved by the Russian Ministry of Energy, as well as routing orders processed by freight forwarders.

“Transneft is not currently transporting oil to Poland,” the company’s spokesman Igor Demin said. He noted that pumping to Polish refineries was scheduled for “the third ten-day interval” of February. However, “routing orders with confirmed resource and transit payments were not processed,” he explained, adding that “operational changes were made to the schedule, excluding supplies for Polish consumers.”

On Saturday, Poland’s largest oil company PKN Orlen said it had stopped receiving oil via the Druzhba pipeline from Russia. While the EU banned seaborne oil imports from the country last December, pipeline deliveries were exempted from the sanctions package in order to secure supplies to landlocked members of the bloc.

Poland has been getting piped oil under a contract with Russian oil and gas company Tatneft after a previous supply agreement with oil major Rosneft expired.

According to Orlen’s CEO Daniel Obajtek, Russian oil currently accounts for 10% of Poland’s imports, after Warsaw slashed shipments from the sanctioned country. The current contract with Tatneft provides 200,000 tons of oil per month to Polish refineries and expires in December 2024.

The northern part of the Druzhba pipeline system feeds two refineries in eastern Germany as well as plants operated by Orlen in Poland. Warsaw has repeatedly pledged to replace Russian oil with crude from the US, the Middle East and other sources.

Oil shipments via the pipeline’s southern branch to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, where Orlen operates two refineries, remained unchanged.

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