Poland to sue Russia over ‘Friendship’

Moscow says it halted oil supplies via the “Druzhba” pipeline to Warsaw due to nonpayment for transit

Poland will demand compensation from Russia over the halt in crude supplies to its refineries, Daniel Obajtek, CEO of the country’s leading oil refiner and retailer Orlen, announced on Monday.

In late February, Moscow suspended crude supplies after Poland stopped paying for deliveries, state-owned pipeline operator Transneft, which runs the Russian section of the “Druzhba” (“Friendship”) pipeline explained.

Company spokesman Igor Demin noted that “routing orders with confirmed resource and transit payments were not processed,” and that “operational changes were made to the schedule, excluding supplies for Polish consumers.”

“The Russians stopped pumping oil to Poland… so we will now take legal action and demand claims,” Obajtek told radio Zet, without giving further details. He also declined to state a figure for potential compensation, saying he could not discuss details of company contracts.

While the EU banned seaborne oil imports from Russia last December, pipeline deliveries were exempted from the sanctions package.

Last March, Poland pledged to stop importing Russian oil by the end of 2022 but continued to receive crude via the Druzhba system.

Poland has been importing piped oil under a contract with Russia’s Tatneft since a previous supply agreement with oil major Rosneft expired. The current deal provides 200,000 tons of oil per month to Polish refineries and expires in December 2024.

According to Orlen, Russian oil currently accounts for 10% of Poland’s imports after Warsaw slashed shipments from the sanctioned country. Poland has repeatedly pledged to replace Russian oil with crude from the US, the Middle East and other sources.

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