The venerable Druzhba pipeline, transporting oil some 4000-km from the northeastern part of European Russia to multiple countries in eastern Europe, sprung a leak in Poland last week which was mended within days.
Given recent problems of alleged sabotage of other pipelines originating in Russia and heading to Europe, this form of deliberate damage was first suspected in Druzhba's case. But the Polish operator in the Polish segment of the Druzhba, PERN, said the leak was likely caused by an accident. Europe is on high alert over its energy security as it faces a severe crisis in the wake of Russian president Putin's invasion of UIkraine, which saw gas shipments to Germany and elsewhere on the continent severely curtailed.
"Security of supply in Germany is currently guaranteed," an economy ministry spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "The refineries in Schwedt and Leuna continued to receive crude oil via the Druzhba pipeline."
The Schwedt refinery, which supplies 90% of Berlin's fuel, said in an emailed statement that deliveries had been taking place at reduced capacity. Firefighters in the mid-northern Kujawsko-Pomorskie region of Poland said they had pumped about 400 cubic meters of oil and water from the site of the leak which was in the middle of a corn field.
The German government aims to eliminate imports of oil from Russia by the end of the year under European Union sanctions. But in the first seven months of the year, Russia was still its top supplier, accounting for just over 30% of oil imports.
Germany said it was hoping for more information soon from Poland about the cause of the leak and how it was repaired.