Polish authorities believe a leak in an oil pipeline bringing Russian oil to Europe is probably an accident.
Investigations continue, but Mateusz Berger, Poland’s top official in charge of strategic energy infrastructure, said he has no reason to assume for now that it was an act of sabotage.
European authorities are on high alert for any signs of sabotage on energy infrastructure since the destruction of the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month. NATO ministers are meeting this week, with the protection of energy assets on the agenda.
Pipeline operator PERN said earlier it expects to know the potential causes in a few hours.
The leak is on one of two strands of the northern leg of the Druzhba network, which supplies Germany and Poland. The pipeline supplies Germany’s key Schwedt refinery, which Germany nationalized from its Russian stakeholders last month as part of efforts to sever decades of tight energy ties with Moscow and to prepare to stop receiving Russian oil later this year.
The southern leg of Druzhba goes toward Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Flows are set to continue along that part even after EU sanctions kick in, after Hungary and others lobbied for an exemption.
PERN said the leak was found late on Tuesday about 70km (44 miles) to the west of Plock, Poland, where PKN Orlen SA’s biggest refinery is located. The leak affects one of two strands of the line, with the other one still operational. It can also still pump crude from Poland’s Baltic Sea terminal to Germany — along a separate route.
–With assistance from Julian Lee, Piotr Skolimowski, Konrad Krasuski and Natalia Ojewska.
Published at Wed, 12 Oct 2022 01:36:47 -0700