WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s oil refineries will fully restore their emergency crude oil stocks in the first quarter of next year after they were allowed to use them when supplies from Russia stopped due to contamination, the energy ministry said on Monday.
In April, buyers discovered that supplies of Russian crude had been contaminated with organic chloride, a chemical used in oil recovery that can damage refining equipment.
After the contamination was detected supplies of Russian oil via the Druzhba pipeline were suspended for 46 days. During that time Polish refineries owned by state-run companies PKN Orlen and Lotos relied on sea borne oil supplies from sources other than Russia and also used emergency stocks.
The energy ministry said on Monday that in response to the refineries’ requests, it had allowed them to reduce their emergency oil stocks by a total of 1.1 million tonnes.
“This action allowed for smooth operations of the refineries during the suspension of supplies ... Full recovery of the emergency stocks will take place in the first quarter of 2020,” the energy ministry said in a statement.
The ministry and the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that currently Poland’s total emergency crude oil stocks, including both owned by the industry and the government, were above the IEA-required level of 90-days.
“Emergency crude oil stocks in Poland are therefore sufficient and according to information provided to the IEA by the Polish Administration, these stocks have not been contaminated by the Russian contaminated crude and thus continue to meet quality expectations,” IEA said in a statement.
Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko. Editing by Jane Merriman