Russia Halts Pipeline Flows to Poland While Shifting Crude to Germany

Russian oil pipeline company Transneft shifted oil flows from Kazakhstan to Germany via the Druzhba pipeline that runs through Poland while shipments to Poland were halted, according to Reuters, citing at least one Russian news agency.

TASS news reported Polish customers were unable to receive Russian oil because Transneft didn't receive paperwork and transit payment in late February.

"(Oil) should have been pumped to Polish refineries in the second half of February."

"However, routing orders with confirmed resource and transit payment were not executed.

"In addition, operational changes were made to the schedule, excluding supplies for Polish consumers," a spokesperson for the pipeline operator said.

On Monday, Kazakhstan oil pipeline operator KazTransOil said about 20,000 tons of crude was pumped to Germany via Russia's Druzhba pipeline. Kazakhstan is a landlocked country that relies on Russia to export energy products that aren't subjected to Western sanctions.

The northern leg of Druzhba supplies crude to Germany, while the southern portion supplies Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

The first oil flow disruption was reported Saturday. Poland's largest oil company PKN Orlen SA said oil flows from the Druzhba pipeline from Russia were unexpectedly halted.

"The halt comes a day after Russia's invasion of Ukraine reached the one-year mark," Bloomberg pointed out. It also comes after President Biden visited Kyiv and Warsaw last week.

Meanwhile, Poland has been one of the biggest cheerleaders of Kyiv, sending weapons and humanitarian aid and receiving more than 1.5 million refugees. Poland was the first European country last year to have its natural gas flows cut by Russia shortly after the invasion.

Even though Western sanctions have excluded Russian oil imports via pipelines, Warsaw has requested sanctions to cancel the last contract with a Russian supplier.

About 10% of Polish crude supplies are sourced from Russia. The country has moved quickly to reduce its dependency on Moscow. Orlen stated that the reduced flows from Russia wouldn't impact operations or consumers.

Poland has been preparing for this day with alternative sourcing, though Germany still has an addiction problem to cheap Russian energy products.

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