May 24, 2019 / 11:13 AM / 3 months ago

German ministry, industry say oil situation still manageable

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany’s economy ministry and oil industry association said on Friday that ongoing technical problems with crude supply on Russia’s Druzhba pipeline did not pose a threat to the security of oil product supply.

A ministry spokeswoman said that all indications it had suggested that refineries were able to use oil from inventories to keep operations running.

She added that the ministry would continue to monitor the situation carefully but that there were currently no plans to release oil from strategic stocks.

An influx of contaminated oil into the Druzhba pipeline last month forced Russia to halt west-bound flows to customers in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Germany and a number of central European countries.

The ministry’s line was echoed by Christoph Bender, managing director of Mineraloelwirtschaftsverband (MWW), Germany’s mineral oil lobby, which represents 14 companies and 17 refinery sites with a total 103 million tonnes of processing capacity, as well sa 10 oil pipelines.

“There are no supply bottlenecks,” he said.

He added that the country’s oil industry had learnt how to handle tight logistics situations last year when low river water levels due to extended periods of heat and drought hampered oil product shipments on barges.

Russia accounts for just over a third of German crude oil imports.

Two German refineries near the pipeline have reported production curbs as a result of the Druzhba problems. They are Total’s Leuna refinery and PCK at Schwedt, both located in eastern Germany.

Leuna is reportedly receiving some alternative seaborne oil shipments via the Polish port of Gdansk while Schwedt is receiving some cargoes via the German port of Rostock.

Reporting by Vera Eckert,; Editing by Thomas Seythal and Thomas Escritt

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