Polish authorities are investigating an oil pipeline leak carrying crude from Russia to Germany, as Europe fears that problems with its energy infrastructure will reduce supplies and drive up prices even further.
Following the discovery of a leak on Tuesday, operator PERN halted flows through one of the Druzhba system’s northern legs.
“At this time, the causes of the event are unknown – the flow in the damaged thread was immediately shut down,” the company said in a statement.
The Druzhba pipeline is divided into two sections, the northern of which transports oil to Germany and Poland. According to Reuters, it has been pumping approximately 490,000 barrels per day to the two countries in recent months.
In response to western sanctions imposed after Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has weaponized its energy exports.
It has reduced the capacity of key pipelines to Europe, including Nord Stream, and has supported the OPEC+ cartel’s refusal to increase oil production despite US pressure.
JPMorgan analysts warned last month that falling Russian oil supply could push prices up to $150 per barrel.
Following the discovery of leaks in the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, Europe has expressed concern that supply could be further reduced if Russia sabotages its energy infrastructure.
After Denmark and Sweden discovered damage caused by hundreds of pounds of TNT, German authorities accused Russia of sabotaging the pipeline system.
Mateusz Berger, Poland’s top energy official, told Reuters that preliminary assessments indicated that Druzhba had suffered “accidental damage,” but traders may still be concerned about Europe’s energy supplies.
Brent crude rose 1.2% to $94.96 after news of the leak broke on Wednesday, while WTI crude rose 1.4% to $89.77. At the time of writing, both benchmarks were trading roughly level.
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