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Belarusian President Says Damages From Contaminated Russian Oil ‘Enormous’

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Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said that the cost of damages from contaminated oil received via the Russian Druzhba oil pipeline was “enormous” and that Belarus expects compensation from Russia.

Right now, we are evaluating the damage, Lukashenka was quoted as saying on May 11 by the state-run Belta news agency.

Damage is enormous to the pipeline, to the equipment on the pipelines, including pumps on the facilities and the like, and to the oil refineries,” Lukashenko said.

He said he expects the costs to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars and that he hopes Russia will not dispute the figures.

Russia late in April halted oil flows through the Druzhba pipeline because of contaminated crude.

Belarus has said that the source of “chlorine contamination” of the oil was found within Russia along the pipeline’s Samara-Unecha section.

Organic chloride is typically used by producers to increase crude oil output, but it must be separated before the crude oil is shipped to refineries because it can destroy refinery equipment.

The state-owned pipeline operator Transneft has said the contamination could have been deliberate, and that a criminal case had been opened.

The Druzhba pipeline carries oil from Russia and Kazakhstan through Belarus to refineries in Poland, Germany, and Slovakia.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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