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Russia Plans to Import Polluted Oil Back From Belarus

Jason Woodhead / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Russia plans to take back around 1 million tons of contaminated oil from Belarus, cleaning up the Druzhba export pipeline section leading to Poland and Germany, four industry sources familiar with the plan told Reuters.

The plan was discussed at talks in Warsaw on Thursday between Russian, Belarussian and European companies. Another roughly 1 million tons stuck in Poland and Germany will be left there to be dealt with by these countries, the sources said.

"The Russians are open to agreeing to take back the polluted oil from the Belarus section which has not come to Poland yet, but there is no agreement on compensation," a source who was attending the Warsaw meeting told Reuters.

Three other people present at the Warsaw talks or briefed on what was discussed there also said the plan was for Russia to take back the oil from the Belarus section.

"This is a bit under 1 million tons. They plan to take it back to Russia," one of the four sources familiar with the plan said.

The plan for contaminated crude in the pipeline further west, in Poland and Germany, is that it will be taken off by local refiners, three of the four sources said.

The Russian energy ministry and Transneft, the Russian state pipeline operator, did not reply to Reuters requests for a comment.

Belarus state energy company Belneftekhim, which manages the country's two refineries and is part of the talks on the tainted oil issue, declined to comment.

Polish oil refiners PKN Orlen and Lotos as well as the pipelines operator PERN were not immediately available to comment. 

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