German-Dutch RMR pipeline hit by possible theft -officials

AMSTERDAM, June 27 (Reuters) - A section of a petroleum pipeline between Germany and the Netherlands has been closed during an investigation of suspected theft, German police and company officials said on Friday.

The 583-km Rhein-Main-Rohrleitungstransportgesellschaft (RMR) pipeline transports oil products from the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp refining hub to Germany. Its main stakeholders are Royal Dutch Shell and BP.

Shell and BP declined to comment.

An official at RMR said in a statement sent to Reuters: “We can confirm that RMR is impacted by an incident in the Cologne region.. .We currently expect that the affected section of our pipeline will be back in operation by Monday.”

No other details were provided about how much may have been stolen from the pipeline, which has a 250,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) capacity.

German police spokesman Christoph Gilles said the incident dated back several weeks or even months, but that the police were only informed about it on Tuesday evening.

In a rare case of fuel theft in Germany, an unidentified culprit connected a 10-metre long hose and tap to the pipeline and hundreds of litres of petrol leaked onto the ground.

“We are investigating petrol theft and environmental offences,” Gilles said. (Reporting By Kirsti Knolle and Ron Bousso. Writing by Anthony Deutsch; editing by Jason Neely)