MOSCOW (Reuters) - Organic chloride contamination in crude oil at the Baltic Sea ports of Primorsk and Ust-Luga stands at 2.5-3 parts per million (ppm), meeting Russian standards, pipeline operator Transneft’s (TRNF_p.MM) CEO has told newspaper Kommersant.
Russia allows contamination of up to 6 ppm, but many European refineries cannot process oil with organic chloride content higher than 1 ppm.
“This is an absolute normal level,” Nikolai Tokarev was quoted as saying.
“In regard to all the talk that (permitted) levels should be lowered to 1 ppm - let them (oil companies proposing this) show such a level first and then we will see.”
Transneft and oil producer Rosneft have clashed since the contamination was detected along the Druzhba pipeline and at the port of Ust-Luga in mid-April.
Rosneft said on Tuesday that after more than four months Transneft still had not delivered a solution to the crisis which has hurt Russia’s oil exports.
The Druzhba pipeline pumps 1 million barrels of oil per day to western and eastern Europe.
Rosneft said on Tuesday that last month Transneft had given notice that it planned to supply oil with organic chloride content of up to 6 ppm to refineries in central Russia and to the port of Primorsk.
That level would hurt exports to Europe, Rosneft said.
Rosneft said this week that it was opposed to mixing tainted oil with clean crude to dilute the contamination - one of the methods Transneft is using to address the crisis.
Reporting by Katya Golubkova; editing by Jason Neely