German refinery days behind after oil shutoff

12th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 January 2007, Schwedt, Germany (dpa) - One of the principal German oil refineries that depends on the Druzhba pipeline through Belarus for its feedstocks said Friday it would need several days more to resume normal processing after this week's shut-off. The massive pipe, which pumps 80 million tons of Russian "black gold" into Europe each year, was shut down Monday by Belarus after the Kremlin refused to accept a Belarusian transport tariff that was levelled in response to a Russian tax. The refinery co

12 January 2007

Schwedt, Germany (dpa) - One of the principal German oil refineries that depends on the Druzhba pipeline through Belarus for its feedstocks said Friday it would need several days more to resume normal processing after this week's shut-off.

The massive pipe, which pumps 80 million tons of Russian "black gold" into Europe each year, was shut down Monday by Belarus after the Kremlin refused to accept a Belarusian transport tariff that was levelled in response to a Russian tax.

The refinery company PCK said at the eastern German site it would only be back to full capacity in the course of next week.

The temperature inside the tanks and crackers at Schwedt could only be raised gradually, spokesman Karl-Heinz Schwellnus explained.

"It's like a saucepan of boiling water. If you pour in some cold water, it takes a while to get back to the boil," he explained.

Cold oil arriving afresh could only be injected gradually into the refining cycle. Schwellnus said the German plant's 1,250 staff were very relieved at Thursday's resumption of pumping through the pipeline.

The Druzhba pipeline provides about one fifth of Germany's oil needs. The PCK plant can normally process about 31,000 tons of crude oil daily into motor fuel and heating oil. The spokesman said the economic damage caused by the stoppage had not been assessed yet.

Negotiations were under way in Moscow Friday between the Russian and Belarusian prime ministers to settle the oil tariffs row.

DPA

Subject: German news

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