Belarus and Russia experience a new flare-up in bilateral oil-related tensions, as poor Russian crude quality breaks expensive equipment at Mozyr Oil Refinery.
Russia imposes a ban on the imports of fruits from Belarus, Belarus in its turn orders to shut down a Russian oil export pipeline Druzhba for repairs.
Russia promises to help Minsk to eliminate defects if there are any, while looking for alternatives and redirect some of the crude volumes via its the Black and Baltic seas ports.
Belarus argues to increase the cost of transit of Russian oil, while Russia sees the arguments as unfounded. Shortly afterward Mozyr oil refinery reports about the breakdown of expensive equipment due to the poor quality of crude supplied from Russia.
Belarus authorities react with the plans to limit oil-product exports, assess the damage and demand compensation. The representatives of the refinery said that the current quality issues are linked to an excess concentration of organic chlorides in oil.
“The restriction is temporary, and as the situation is rectified, the responsibilities for deliveries will be fulfilled by our foreign counterparty,” the deputy chairman of Belneftekhim Uladzimir Sizau said.
The Belarusian side claims that an increase in chlorides may lead to a violation of the technological regimes of the refinery and will require the optimization of the plants’ operating mode.
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Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly acknowledged the problems and expressed hope that “the quality will be normalized by next Monday-Tuesday.” The Belneftekhim representatives will meet Russia’ Transneft team on 23 April to discuss the emergency.
TUT.BY sources explained that consumers of Russia’s Urals Oil via the Druzhba pipeline have complained about its quality for almost three years. The best oil goes to China, while Druzhba oil is a residual.