One of two strings of the Russian ‘Druzhba’ oil pipeline passing through Poland to Germany has been closed off following a leak, the Polish operator PERN said on Saturday.
“PERN’s automation systems detected a leak” on Saturday evening, leading to the section being “immediately turned off,” the company said, adding that its emergency teams, along with the Polish Fire Service, were working to secure the infrastructure.
- “At the moment, the company is investigating the causes of the incident” and is “in constant contact” with German partners, PERN said.
The operator noted that the second branch of the pipeline is operating as normal, but did not mention any contact with Russia on the matter.
PERN went on to give reassurances that there is no threat to locals or to Poland’s fuel supply, and that all work at the site is being supervised by national environment protection authorities.
Overnight, PERN said heavy equipment had been deployed to the scene and would “work all night long.” On Sunday morning, it reported that the emergency teams had dug down to an underground section of the pipeline, where the leak was located, and that repair work was “in progress,” without commenting on the potential causes of the incident.
The Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline is one of the largest oil transit networks in the world, spanning 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) and pumping oil from Russia to Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.
- In mid-June, the governor of Russia’s Bryansk Region, Alexander Bogomaz, said Ukrainian forces had attempted to attack a section of the pipeline in his region with drones, but that the raid was repelled by the Russian air defenses.
- In May, the Washington Post claimed, citing leaked Pentagon documents, that back in February Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had suggested that Kiev “should just blow up the [Druzhba] pipeline.”
The EU also allegedly considered restricting Russian oil imports by Germany and Poland through the pipeline, Bloomberg reported the same month.