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Poland detects leak in crucial Druzhba oil pipeline linking Russia and Europe

Polish pipeline operator PERN released a statement on Wednesday saying a leak had been discovered in the Druzhba pipeline. PERN’s automatic detection system detected the leak in one of the pipes of the Druzhba pipeline. The Druzbha pipeline transports oil from Russia to Europe. According to a statement from PERN, the leak was detected 70 km from the western town of Plock, on one of the two lines of the northern part of the Druzhba network.

This is Germany’s main crude oil supply line. The northern part of the Druzhba network supplies energy to Germany and Poland while the southern part of the network supplies oil to Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. PERN said the cause of the leak is unknown at this time. Mateusz Berger, Poland’s top energy infrastructure official, said the leak could have been an accident, according to an NBC report.

What steps is PERN taking to stop the leak?

PERN dispatched fire crews and other personnel to the scene to assess the extent of the leak. Repairs were launched as soon as leaks were discovered, according to reports from NBC News. Karol Kierzkowski, spokesman for the Polish fire service, told Polish public broadcaster TVP Info that “the main measure (we are taking) is to pump out the liquid, locate the leak and stop it.” The leak came at a time when Europe is already suffering from an energy crisis. The energy crisis began when Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Several European countries, including Germany, Europe’s largest economy, have long depended on Russian energy.

Importance of the Druzhba pipeline

A Financial Times report states that Germany’s dependence on Russian energy began in the 1970s. It was an effort by West Germany to reduce its dependence on -vis the United States. Germany’s manufacturing base depends on Russian energy. Without cheap Russian energy, Germany’s manufacturing sector suffers as other energy sources are more expensive, according to reports from The Economist. The Druzhba pipeline supplies oil to the crucial Schwedt refinery in Germany. Germany nationalized the Schwedt refinery last month because it was originally owned by Russia.