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Russia to restore oil pipeline supplies to Europe

Moscow - Russia plans to restore oil supplies via its key Druzhba pipeline to Europe in two weeks, after joint talks with Belarus, Ukraine and Poland

Moscow - Russia plans to restore oil supplies via its key Druzhba pipeline to Europe in two weeks, after joint talks with Belarus, Ukraine and Poland on Friday in Minsk.

Poland, Germany, Ukraine and other countries suspended imports of Russian oil via the pipeline this week due to contamination. Halting those supplies has knock-on effects further along the network.

After joint talks in the Belarus capital on Friday, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said in a statement that the four countries had agreed on joint measures to eliminate the effects of the contamination. “This would allow us, as earlier planned, to supply... (clean) oil to the border with Belarus by April 29 and to restore the pipeline (to stability) in two weeks,” Kozak said in the statement on Friday.

Pavel Sorokin, Russia’s deputy energy minister, told reporters in Minsk after the talks that one of the options for supplying clean oil was to mix the contaminated product with regular supply. Russia’s pipeline monopoly Transneft said on Friday that the contamination which led to the suspension of the oil flows to Europe could be deliberate, Interfax news agency reported.

The problem arose last week when an unidentified Russian producer contaminated oil with high levels of organic chloride, which is typically used to boost oil output but which must be separated before shipment as it can destroy refining equipment.

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