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Fri May 24, 2019, 07:37 PM

Russia's Dirty Oil Crisis Is Worse Than Almost Anyone Predicted

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-24/russia-s-dirty-oil-crisis-is-worse-than-almost-anyone-predicted

For almost four weeks, the tanker Mendeleev Prospect has been anchored idly off the Polish port of Gdansk unable to discharge a $50 million cargo of crude oil.

After any normal voyage the tanker would quickly deliver its 700,000 barrels of Russian crude into a refinery for processing into gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products. But the Mendeleev Prospect is in limbo, the victim of Russia’s unprecedented contaminated crude crisis that’s been spreading chaos though the European oil market for a month.

“There are problems,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. “There are efforts being made to minimize the consequences for Russia’s partners and counterparties, as well as for all related Russian systems.”

Back in April, unusually high levels of the chemicals known as organic chlorides were discovered in Russian crude flowing through the giant Druzhba pipeline, built in the 1960s to carry crude from the U.S.S.R. to allied countries in Eastern Europe. The chlorides can severely damage oil refineries and on April 24 Russia’s state pipeline operator, Transneft PJSC, halted shipments. Moscow pledged to resolve the issue right away; four weeks later, the flow of Russian oil into Europe is little more than a trickle.

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