Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that the state-owned oil company Transneft was seeking pollution of Russian raw supplies was pumped across Europe.
Poland, Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia suspended the import of the oil via the Druzhba pipeline earlier this week after the power was found to be tainted. The temporary cessation of deliveries has triggered a supply crisis affecting refineries in Germany.
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- The problem was identified last week after an unidentified Russian producer contaminated raw supplies with high levels of organic chloride .
- Transneft later confirmed that the organic chlorides were introduced into the Druzhba pipeline at the private Samara Transneft terminal in the southwest of Russia.
- A The number of countries, including Germany, Poland and Ukraine, stopped Russian oil imports via the pipeline on Thursday.
- The crisis drove the oil price above $ 75 (€ 67) for this first time this year.
- Russia held talks with Belarus, Ukraine and Poland in Minsk on Friday to discuss measures to tackle the fallout.
- Moscow said it was scheduled to restore clean oil flows via the pipeline within two weeks.
Survey in progress [1
Putin said the government would consider carrying out a broader request if the Transneft probe does not go far enough.
"First and foremost, it is of course necessary to carry out a study at the level of Transneft itself, and to identify the place from which it came from, for what reasons, what it was and so on. This study is underway," says Putin. .
"If the internal business survey is not enough, I do not rule out that we will do more thoroughly (investigation) with the help of law enforcement and specialists."
The Interfax news agency reported that Transneft said the pollution could be deliberate and had opened a criminal case.
Analyst Mike Lynch told AFP's news agency the case was "quite strange".
"It has caused some nervousness in markets, but it seems that the situation can be resolved quickly," he says.
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Consumption score: The suspension of streams along the Druzhba pipeline cut off a large supply route for refineries in Poland, Germany and elsewhere. Some refineries have secured alternative supplies, but analysts say other routes can't make up for the shortfall. Meanwhile, Russia has had to figure out how to derive a massive amount of oil that was meant to lead west in Europe.
Crucial pipeline: Russia is the world's second largest exporter of crude oil. One main road that pumps oil to other European countries is via the Druzhba pipeline, which is capable of transporting 1 million barrels per day. The pipeline runs through Belarus, where it is divided into two, with a branch going north to Poland and Germany, and the other serving the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia further south.
What made the oil dirty? Organic chlorides are routinely used to increase oil production, but they must be separated before delivery. When refined, they become hydrochloric acid which can destroy equipment at refineries.
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