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Contaminated oil to flow to Slovakia, Hungary for at least 4 months

Christian Fernsby |
Russian oil being pumped towards Slovakia and Hungary will stay contaminated for at least four months, Ukraine state pipeline company Ukrtransnafta said.

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Contamination has disrupted Russian export flows since late April, when high levels of organic chloride were found in crude pumped to the Baltic port of Ust-Luga and through the Druzhba pipeline.

On Monday, Russia began shipping clean oil via the Baltic, while Hungary became the first European country to resume imports via the pipeline as part of a test.

Organic chloride is used in oil extraction but must be removed before the refining process is started.

Ukraine said on Saturday it had resumed transfers to European clients via the Druzhba pipeline’s southern leg to Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic. It is unclear if there are any flows to other countries via that leg apart from Hungary.

Nikolai Gavrilenko, head of Ukrtransnafta, told Reuters on Tuesday there were around 350,000 tonnes of tainted oil stuck in Ukraine as of May 14, after some volumes were pumped further on the pipeline’s southern leg.

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