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Belarusian operator of Druzhba pipeline loses court battle against Orlen Lithuania

Christian Fernsby |
The operator of Belarus' section of the Druzhba oil pipeline has lost a court battle in which it sought around 84 mln US dollars (EUR 77 mln) from Orlen Lietuva, the Lithuanian unit of Poland's oil group Orlen, in compensation for crude oil that remained in the Lithuanian section of the pipeline after it was closed back in 2006, informed LETA/BNS.

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On May 7, the Supreme Court of Lithuania refused to accept Gomeltransneft Druzhba's appeal against lower courts' rulings unfavorable to the Belarusian company.

The Lithuanian Court of Appeal dismissed Gomeltransneft Druzhba's lawsuit in March, saying that after the Lithuanian section of the pipeline became the property of Lithuania, the so-called "technological oil" that remained there was "subject to the same legal fate".

The Lithuania media reported in 2015 that Orlen Lietuva had removed the remaining crude while repairing the closed Druzhba pipeline for environmental purposes, which had a positive one-off effect on the refinery's operating results.

Russia shut Druzhba in July 2006 immediately after the sale of the Mazeikiai crude refinery to Poland's Orlen. The official explanation for the shutdown was a need to repair the pipeline, but Lithuania never doubted that it was a political decision.

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