Russia Resumes Crude Export from Ust-Luga Oil Products Terminal
IndraStra Global

Russia Resumes Crude Export from Ust-Luga Oil Products Terminal

By IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: A file photo of an oil tanker CPO France (IMO:  9347308/MMSI:  538008324) being loaded at the Ust-Luga oil products terminal/ Date: April 9, 2014,/ Source: Alexander Demianchuk, Reuters

Image Attribute: A file photo of an oil tanker CPO France (IMO:  9347308/MMSI:  538008324) being loaded at the Ust-Luga oil products terminal/ Date: April 9, 2014,/ Source: Alexander Demianchuk, Reuters

On May 10, 2019, Ust-Luga, a Baltic port in the Russian northwestern Leningrad region, has resumed shipping Russian oil compliant with GOST (gosudarstvennyy standart) requirements — following a contamination issue that has shut down deliveries for a couple of weeks.

According to the statement released by Russian Energy Ministry, "Earlier, on May 8, on spec oil was transported to the metering station of Ust-Luga port. On May 9, it started to flow into a tank farm for being loaded onto tankers." 

On April 24, 2019, Russia halted operation along the Gomeltransneft Druzhba oil pipeline which provides Russian and Kazakh oil transit to Eastern Europe and Germany due to contamination. The contamination was reported by the Belarusian petrochemical company Belneftekhim after it noticed a sharp deterioration in the quality of the Russian oil running through the pipeline on April 19.  

On April 23, 2019, Belarus suspended exports of light oil products to Ukraine, Poland and Baltic countries due to poor quality oil supplied to its refineries. Poland also refused to accept Russian crude delivered via the Gomeltransneft Druzhba oil pipeline. 

About 36.7 million barrels have been contaminated by highly corrosive organochloride compounds, a chemical used to boost oil extraction by cleaning wells and accelerating the flow of crude. The compound was found "dozens of times above the limit value." It must be removed before oil is sent to customers because it can destroy refining equipment and, at high temperatures, generates poisonous chlorine gas. According to Reuters, till May 9, 2019, organochloride compound in Ust-Luga stood at 50-60 parts per million (ppm), still above 10 ppm normal levels.

The source of contamination was revealed in the Samara-Unecha section. Russian state-owned oil pipeline company Transneft pointed out that the oil in the Gomeltransneft Druzhba pipeline had been deliberately contaminated. According to the company, criminal proceedings were initiated after the incident.

NOTE: Surgutneftegas, a Russian energy company told its buyers that clean crude had started arriving into Ust-Luga storage tanks on May 9 and its cargoes loading on May 19, 21, 28 would be fully in line with international standards.