Nikolai Tokarev can make money on dirty oil

In the export pipe of Transneft, contaminated oil was again detected.
Origin source
Two months have passed since the "contamination" of the Druzhba pipeline with organochlorine. However, we still do not have answers to key questions about the causes and consequences of this state of emergency. Recently, repeated pollution was recorded, which can hardly be attributed to accident. Therefore, it is time to find a rational explanation for the events taking place on the infrastructure of the state oil transport monopoly. It seems that the key word here is “money”.

New pollution of the export pipeline is fixed on the section between Belarus and Poland. The spot test, taken on June 19 at 15:00 at the Adamova Zastap checkpoint, revealed an excess of organochlorine compounds 6 times - 60 ppm (parts per million) at a standard of 10 ppm. As a result, the Polish operator "Friendship" concern PERN suspended oil pumping to the West.

After the April incident, the management of Transneft assured that the situation was under control and the quality of the pumped raw materials was checked almost every minute. If so, how could the second “contamination” of the oil with organochlorine occur? Last time, the head of the company, Nikolay Tokarev, talked about a certain sabotage; Allegedly, some stubs did not work for those, and therefore dozens of tons of dichloroethane being at them poured into the export pipe.

We tried to find other versions of what happened. One of them was voiced by the director of the Foundation for Progressive Policy, Oleg Bondarenko. According to him, a relapse with the pollution of the pipeline can be considered confirmation of rumors about Transneft’s behind-the-scenes negotiations with Polish partners. We are talking about the possible creation on the territory of Poland of the so-called “chlorine banks” - special centers for compiling (mixing) contaminated raw materials with high-quality oil. It is quite possible that the June 19 incident could have been a leading supply of raw materials for these “chlorine banks”. The Poles stopped pumping, because not all issues are settled.

“But someone cannot wait to start a business, the essence of which is to get the necessary volumes of“ dirty ”raw materials at a discount from companies, and then improve its quality using standard Russian oil,” Oleg Bondarenko suggests.

It is these backstage negotiations that can be the explanation for the fact that over the past weeks no one has told the truth about what is happening and what will happen next with the millions of tons of “dirty” oil that entered the pipeline system in April.

Confusion in the testimony

The management of Transneft assures that the problem has been solved, and since July 1, deliveries through the pipe will be restored, and all the “dirty” oil will be pumped to Novorossiysk. Meanwhile, the radio station Deutsche Welle cites other data with reference to specific Russian employees of the same Transneft.

According to Sergey Andronov, vice-president of Transneft, about 35 thousand tons will be received in June, and there is no plan for July. If everything is so, then out of the total volume of polluted oil, no more than one tenth will fall into Novorossiysk. Although, according to the Belarusian “Belneftekhim”, “about half a million tons of“ dirty ”raw materials have already been pushed into the territory of Russia by the reverse. Where is the rest?

Differing data on the location of oil contaminated with dichloroethane is not the only discrepancy. Transneft, according to information from open sources, began pumping high-quality oil through the pipeline, and some European plants have already confirmed the receipt of clean, uninfected raw materials. However, as Alexander Dynkin, President of the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told reporters, these refineries are currently not operating at full capacity. Accordingly, the question of how much pumping has been restored remains open.

According to Alexander Dynkin, there is reason to believe that only one of the four threads of Friendship is functioning. By itself, this fact can be regarded as positive. But this is clearly not enough for consumers of Russian oil in Europe, they continue to suffer losses due to forced downtime. The expert noted that the specific schedule for the introduction of all four lines of the pipeline has not been made public. As well as the preliminary causes of pollution, and measures taken by Transneft to prevent similar situations in the future.

Dynkin added that additional questions were caused by the proposal of the company under the leadership of Nikolay Tokarev to transfer to her balance the corporate oil delivery points. Does Transneft want to get these nodes for free, or is it ready to buy them out? How should mining companies behave in this case? Should they still check the quality of their oil?

By the way, the cost of daily quality control of raw materials, which allegedly intends to ensure a monopoly, is not included in its budget. This means that in the future it can raise the tariffs for pumping oil, that is, domestic suppliers will pay for everything in the end.

How much will it cost us?

Among the victims of pollution "Friendship" - both Russian and foreign companies. Poor quality raw materials fell into Belarus, Poland, Germany, Hungary and other states. Officially, Transneft did not name the total amount of damage, as well as the amount of compensation to consumers and suppliers of Russian oil. Industry experts agree that the amount of damage and compensation can range from hundreds of millions to a billion dollars and above.

“The average monthly deliveries of Friendship vary on average within 4.2 million tons per month. This means that the final downtime will entail a reduction in deliveries of 15 million barrels of Urals, which is about $ 1 billion in revenue from the Russian oil industry. That is, in conjunction with the costs of “Transneft” to clean up “Friendship” and compensation to contract partners, you can expect even greater numbers, ”said Konstantin Karpov, analyst at BKS Broker.

The volume of losses of Russian and foreign consumers has not yet been voiced, but it is obvious that the amount is growing every day, and it is not clear when this will end. WMT senior analyst Valery Andrianov notes that Transneft and its partners have yet to decide who will free the second part of the pipe and how. At the same time, polluted oil standing in the notorious tanks also needs to be removed - and here again the question of logistics: to try to send oil in parts along the same pipeline? But where? To whom? Do not send all this by rail! Who will cover such costs?

One of the key points in this whole story may be that Transneft offers consumers to introduce a universal discount of 15% of the cost of contaminated raw materials. Oleg Bondarenko calls these conditions unacceptable, since the losses of all - senders, consignees, refiners - add up differently. To explain such a strange proposal, according to the expert, it is possible that compounding is a source of uncontrolled profits of Transneft.
“The Deutsche Welle observer,” says Bondarenko, “caught the key phrase Tokarev said in an interview with the president about the need for compounding, but did not understand, it seems, its deep political and economic meaning.” “The real practice is,” explains the expert, “that standard Russian oil produced by sending companies is removed from the pipe and spreads to an infinite number — tens and hundreds — of mini-plants that have stuck to Transneft.” There, light fractions are extracted from it, and low-tech distillation waste, unprocessed petrochemical residues and impurities diluted with solvents are poured back into the pipe. Hence, the chloroform detected by the Poles and other petrochemical ingredients, which under no circumstances can be found in the crude oil. This is what compounding is in the terminology of Transneft. This word explains what is happening and will be happening with “dirty” oil. The situation with “Friendship” is a direct result of compounding. At the same time, it is publicly announced that the only way to eliminate the results of compounding is, imagine, compounding. The skill of Transneft is that, once in a scandalous situation, it skillfully and consistently turns it into a source of extra benefit for itself. ”

When, after all, 3 million tons of dirty oil will be mixed with net oil and shipped to the consumer, the proceeds from the export volume that has unexpectedly grown due to “sabotage” will be credited to the accounts of the oil transport monopoly.

Experts believe that this process may take two or three years, and therefore European consumers are afraid of new problems with raw materials - what will happen if something is not so mixed up? It is obvious that in addition to commercial aspects in the situation with oil pollution in the Druzhba pipeline there are also image problems. The story of the pollution of the Druzhba pipeline was immediately picked up by the Western media and activists, imprisoned in the fight against Russia's so-called energy expansion.


According to RBC, in the case of oil pollution in the export pipeline "Druzhba" new figures appeared - four employees of the company "Transneft Druzhba" (100 percent subsidiary of "Transneft"). Earlier, the media reported that Transneft was notified about the problem of "dirty oil" long before April 19, Belneftekhim, operating the Mozyr Oil Refinery in Belarus, announced a sharp increase in the content of organochlorine in raw materials. On April 2, oil was shut down via a low-sulfur pipeline to the Volgograd refinery. A number of experts said at the time that the practice of pouring diluted oil into the pipe could only be explained by the need to hide the theft. ”