The European Union is demanding an explanation for the shutdown of a pipeline carrying oil from Russia through Belarus. Germany and Poland, whose oil supplies have been cut as a result, have both expressed concern at the situation. Russia’s Druzhba pipeline stopped pumping overnight in a trade dispute between Moscow and Minsk over energy prices and transit fees.
Pipeline monopoly Transneft said it took action to stop Belarus siphoning off oil – payment in kind for its new oil transit duty. The German Economy Minister Michael Glos has called on the two countries to meet their energy transit and delivery responsibilities as soon as possible: “It’s unacceptable that we have to accept such shutdowns of our supply. This incident shows once again, we can’t rely on energy supplies from Eastern Europe alone. For high reliability, we need mixture of energy sources,” Michael Glos said.
Poland’s deputy Economy Minister Piotr Naimski said his country had enough oil reserves to last 80 days but still he condemned the decision to cut supplies: “This situation would seem to show that deliveries from Eastern Europe are unreliable. The suppliers can’t be trusted,” Piotr Naimski said. The stoppage is the latest development in an increasingly bitter dispute, which has seen Moscow impose duties on oil sales and double prices of gas supplies to Minsk.