Crude Contamination: Ukraine Suspends Pipeline Deliveries; Total Halts Refinery Operations

(Reuters) - Ukraine's pipeline operator Ukrtransnafta confirmed on Friday that Russian oil flows transiting it to Europe were suspended, but said normal oil transmission would resume from Monday.

French oil and gas major Total, meanwhile, said it had suspended operations at some units of the 230,000 barrel-per-day Leuna refinery in Germany for technical checks following the prolonged situation of contaminated Russian crude supply.

Total said it was carrying out the checks to manage any long-term supply complications due to the contaminated Russian crude.

"It is expected that operations will resume as early as Saturday, using alternative supply via Gdansk (in Poland)," the company said in a statement.

"With the continuing problems in connection with the Druzhba pipeline, the capacity of the refinery will remain limited," it said, adding that efforts would be made to limit the effect on the supply of petrol, diesel and heating oil to clients.

Total declined to give details of the units that were halted. Industry monitor Genscape said earlier on Friday that the 112,000 bpd vacuum distillation unit at the refinery was one of the units that was halted.

Belarusian state oil company Belnefthekhim said earlier that Russian oil transit flows to Ukraine had been suspended because the country was still struggling to process contaminated crude it received last month.

Belarus plans to seek compensation from Russia for export and transit revenues that it did not receive due to the contamination of oil via the Druzhba pipeline, Belta news agency cited Deputy Prime Minister Igor Lyashenko as saying on Friday.

Russia's oil export flows have been disrupted since April when high levels of organic chloride were found in crude pumped via the Druzhba pipeline to the Baltic port of Ust-Luga and other European countries.

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