The Druzhba Pipeline Crisis – The Lessons for Russia and for Europe
The contamination of the Druzhba pipeline with organic chlorides became the most serious interruption of oil supplies in the 55-year history of oil trade on this key route. This is a follow-up to the OIES Comment published in May 2019 that provided a background to the incident and discussed some of the potential implications of the contamination of the Druzhba pipeline. This comment argues that while the worst of the crisis is over, it is by no means the end of the story. There is little doubt that in the aftermath of the incident European refineries and policy makers will focus on security of supply issues, including options to diversify away from Russian crude. The issue of compensation for the oil contamination in the Druzhba system may become highly contentious. Any changes to Russia’s domestic oil pipeline regulation along the lines of greater control and more checks may increase costs for Russian oil producers.