May 29, 2019 / 10:36 AM / 4 months ago

Total to seek compensation for Druzhba pipeline contamination

PARIS, May 29 (Reuters) - Total will seek compensation for the losses caused by a contaminated oil pipeline which has led to a halving of output at its Leuna refinery in Germany, Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne told shareholders on Wednesday.

“The impact on us is not nil. The Leuna refinery in Germany, which is at the end of the pipeline, is producing at half of its capacity,” Pouyanne said.

Oil export flows from Russia have been disrupted since April when high levels of organic chloride were found in crude pumped via the Druzhba pipeline to the Baltic port of Ust-Luga and other European countries.

Some 5 million tonnes of oil were contaminated and the dirty crude is now stuck in pipelines in Belarus and further West, in Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Pouyanne said the costs of the contamination and eventual decontamination were still to be clarified.

“Who is going to pay for the decontamination? There is a significant amount that is being mentioned, around $15 per barrel. At the moment, everyone is looking at the other to find the one who is responsible,” Pouyanne said, answering questions from shareholders.

“We’ll look to recoup the loss we have suffered,” he said. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Mark Potter)

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