Russian oil is contaminated with chlorine

An increased concentration of chlorides was recorded in the Transneft system even before the situation with the pollution of the Druzhba pipeline in mid-April.
For example, on April 4-12, oil with a chloride content above the norm was received by the Volgograd LUKOIL Refinery. In Transneft and LUKOIL they confirm the fact, but they say that he had no relation to the crisis with Druzhba. However, this casts doubt on at least the claims of the representatives of the largest oil companies that they do not use chlorine-containing substances in oil production.

In early April, the Volgograd Refinery of LUKOIL faced an increase in the concentration of organochlorine compounds in the oil entering the refinery. On this occasion, the LUKOIL structure appealed to Transneft Volga. A high concentration of chlorides, which reached a peak of 27 ppm (parts per million), was detected on April 4, a source familiar with the situation said. That is, it happened two weeks before Belarusian Belneftekhim complained about the receipt of non-standard oil with multiple excess of organochlorine in another direction of the Transneft system - the Druzhba pipeline. Abnormalities at the Volgograd refinery persisted until April 12.

In Transneft and LUKOIL confirmed the information about exceeding the standards for organochlorine. Igor Demin, adviser to the head of the pipeline monopoly, explained to “Kommersant” that the traces of the compounds were in the delivered oil batch of one of the LUKOIL subsidiaries. So, the point test showed two organochlorine excess, but the decade cumulative sample did not reveal an excess of the norm of 10 ppm valid for that period (from July 1, the norm is 6 ppm). The company noted that LUKOIL did not file a claim to Transneft. They also stated that the situation with the flow of contaminated oil is in no way connected with the subsequent problems at Druzhba.

Mr. Demin explained that the structure of LUKOIL handed over oil with a high content of organochlorine at a receiving station located on a branch from the Samara-Tikhoretsk main oil pipeline in the direction of the Volgograd refinery. The plant consumes more than 1.2 million tons of oil per month, and the volume of the polluted batch amounted to several thousand tons, Transneft noted. According to the source “Kommersant”, we are talking about the Volgogradneftegaz division of RITEK operating in the Volgograd region (production in 2017 is about 1.2 million tons).

In LUKOIL, it was noted that minor deviations of the organochlorine indicator from the standard in the first decade of April were recorded in one-off sampling samples, while daily average indicators were within the normal range. “This is a working situation, there was no impact on the activities of the Volgograd refinery, and therefore no special measures were required. There is no damage for the LUKOIL group, ”the press service said. The company did not explain how organochlorine could get into the oil. In early June, the head of LUKOIL, Vagit Alekperov, stated that the company does not use organochlorine for oil production. Similar statements were made by representatives of other major companies.

Prior to this, only one Russian plant that had suffered from organochlorine, the Kuibyshevsk Refinery Rosneft, was known. But then it was connected with problems on the Druzhba pipeline. As the representative of Rosneft, Mikhail Leontyev, reported, sub-standard oil flowed to the refinery from the linear production and dispatching station Lopatino from April 12 to 17. The remaining plants of the Samara group of "Rosneft" are connected to other cargo flows. Yesterday, Rosneft didn’t respond to the Kommersant’s request.

At the moment, the official version of chlororganic penetration into the Druzhba pipeline is a stuffing done through Samaratransneft-Terminal, which is the main production asset of the Petroneft group of companies. The company's founder, Roman Trushev, and the former general director of Samaratransneft-Terminal, Roman Ruzhechko, were arrested in absentia. According to investigators, they added organosilane to oil to hide its embezzlement.

“There is a clear discrepancy between the revealed facts and the version of Transneft, which is the basis of the accusation,” said Sergey Trushev’s lawyer, partner of the EMPP bureau, Sergei Egorov. In his opinion, the new circumstances seem to be "extremely significant, their concealment is unacceptable, and the interpretation of Transneft is not enduring criticism."

A Kommersant source in the industry explains that supplying oil with a slight excess of organochlorine to refineries is standard practice. “Everyone is engaged in this, and it would remain a routine matter if it were not for the situation with Druzhba, which in fact stopped the export of Urals in the Belarusian direction for several weeks,” the Kommersant source said. According to him, the detection of increased chloride content at the Volgograd refinery in early April has nothing to do with the situation at Druzhba. Another source of “Kommersant” agrees that the use of organochlorine in oil production is found, but in the case of “Friendship” it was a question of huge pollution indicators, reaching 100 ppm.