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26 Apr 2019, 12:56
Julian Wettengel

Germany has enough supply to cope with Russian oil pipeline halt

Reuters / Tagesspiegel Background

German refineries have adequate oil stocks if import flows on the Russian Druzhba pipeline were to be halted, a spokesman for industry group MWV (Mineralölwirtschaftsverband) told news agency Reuters. Poland, Germany and Slovakia had suspended imports of Russian oil via a major pipeline, citing poor oil quality and triggering a rare crisis over supply from the world’s second-largest crude exporter. The quality problem arose last week when an unknown Russian producer contaminated oil with high levels of organic chloride, which is used to boost oil output but must be separated before shipment as it can destroy refining equipment, writes Reuters in a separate article.
The pipeline halt is a reminder of how dependant Germany still is on a “politically and technically complex fossil infrastructure,” writes Jakob Schlandt in Tagesspiegel Background. He reports that a quarter of German oil supplies arrive via the Druzhba pipeline.

Despite the Energiewende, Germany remains heavily dependent on imports of fossil fuels, as its domestic resources are largely depleted or extraction too costly. Oil reached peak consumption at the end of the 1970s, but it is still Germany’s most important primary energy source. Mineral oil covered 34.3 percent of Germany’s primary energy use in 2018. Most oil was used for transport. Only a small fraction is used for electricity production. In 2018, Russia accounted for 36 percent of Germany’s total crude oil imports of 85.2 million tonnes, according to figures from government trade statistics office BAFA.

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