Leak in Russia-Europe Druzhba pipeline, looks like ‘accident’, says Polish operator

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A leak has been detected on Tuesday evening by Polish pipeline operator PERN in one line of the Druzhba pipeline, which carries oil from Russia to Europe, the operator said on Wednesday. 

Authorities said that the leak was probably caused by an accident, though the event may still stoke concerns about the security of Europe’s energy supplies even as it faces a severe energy crisis since Moscow cut gas supplies to the region after invading Ukraine in a continuing stand-off. 

As per PERN, the leak was detected in a section of the pipe around 70 kilometres from the central Polish city of Plock. The second line of the pipeline and other elements of infrastructure was working as normal. 

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The operator said, “At this point, all PERN services (technical, operational, in-house fire brigade and environmental protection) are taking action in accordance with the algorithms provided for this type of situation.” 

On being asked about a possibility of sabotage, Poland’s top official in charge of energy infrastructure Mateusz Berger told news agency Reuters by telephone: “Here we can talk about accidental damage. We are living in turbulent times, different connotations are possible, but at this stage we have no grounds at all to believe that.” 

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The news is alarming for Europe as it comes after four major leaks were discovered in the undersea Nord Stream gas pipelines from Russia to Germany. 

Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war that caused a global energy crisis, Europe is already on high alert over the security of energy infrastructure after experts claimed that the leaks were the results of sabotage. 

Both the West and Russia have blamed each other. 

While responding, Russia’s Transneft state-owned pipeline monopoly said that oil continues to be pumped towards Poland.

Druzhba oil pipeline

The Druzhba oil pipeline is one of the world’s largest. Its name means “friendship” in Russian and it supplies Russian oil to much of central Europe including Germany, Poland, Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria. 

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