March 02, 2023

An End to Friendship


An End to Friendship
Construction of the Druzhba pipeline in Zsámbok, Hungary, 1972. Urbán Tamás, Wikimedia Commons.

On February 25, a day after the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russian oil company Transneft suspended the supply of crude oil to Poland's largest oil company, PKN Orlen.

The Druzhba ("Friendship") pipeline, one of the world's longest, carries oil from Eastern Russia to much of Europe, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Germany. 

The contract between Transneft and PKN Orlen was set to expire in December 2024. Transneft did not give a reason for its suspension, but the action came one day after Poland dispatched its first Leopard tanks to Ukraine

PKN Orlen said they expected this to happen, but said the suspension will not affect Polish consumers. Poland intends to end Russian oil imports entirely, but it requires EU sanctions on oil imports to cancel their remaining contract with a Russian supplier. "Only 10% of crude oil has been coming from Russia, and we will replace it with oil from other sources," PKN Orlen's CEO Daniel Obajtek wrote on Twitter.

According to Radio Svoboda, PKN Orlen currently receives oil sourced from the North Sea, West Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Persian and Mexican Gulfs. 

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