Russian crude oil imports suspended due to contamination

A number of EU member states including the Czech Republic have suspended imports of Russian crude oil via the Druzba pipeline, citing contamination, the Reuters news agency reported on Thursday.

Reuters said Poland and Germany had stopped accepting deliveries and the Czech Republic had also halted purchases, although the Belarusian pipeline company said customers along the southern leg were still receiving oil.

The quality problem arose last week when an unknown Russian producer contaminated the oil with high levels of organic chloride. The Russian energy ministry said Transneft was trying to fix the problem as soon as possible, giving no timeframe.