The Druzhba pipeline (Russian: нефтепровод «Дружба»; also has been referred to as the Friendship Pipeline and the Comecon Pipeline) is the world's longest oil pipeline and in fact one of the biggest oil pipeline networks in the world. It carries oil some 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) from the eastern part of the European Russia to points in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany. The network also branches out into numerous pipelines to deliver its product throughout Eastern Europe and beyond. The name "Druzhba" means "friendship", alluding to the fact that the pipeline supplied oil to the energy-hungry western regions of the Soviet Union, to its "fraternal socialist allies" in the former Soviet bloc, and to western Europe. Today, it is the largest principal artery for the transportation of Russian (and Kazakh) oil across Europe.
On 18 December 1958, the 10th session of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon), held in Prague, adopted a decision and an agreement was signed on construction of a trunk crude oil pipeline from the USSR into Poland, Czechoslovakia, GDR and Hungary. The construction of the initially proposed 5,327 kilometres (3,310 mi) long pipeline commenced in 1960. Each country was to supply all necessary construction materials, machinery and equipment. In 1962, first oil reached to Czechoslovakia, in September 1963 to Hungary, in November 1963 to Poland, and in December 1963 to GDR. The whole pipeline was put into operation in October 1964. The first oil pumped through the Druzhba pipeline originated from the oil fields in Tatarstan and Samara (Kuybyshev) Oblast. In the 1970s the Druzhba pipeline system was further enlarged with the construction of geographically parallel lines.
The pipeline begins from Almetyevsk in Tatarstan, the Russian heartland, where it collects oil from western Siberia, the Urals, and the Caspian Sea. It runs to Mozyr in southern Belarus, where it splits into a northern and southern branch. The northern branch crosses the remainder of Belarus across Poland to Schwedt in Germany. It supplies refineries in Płock and in Schwedt. The northern branch is also connected by the Płock-Gdańsk pipeline with the Naftoport terminal in Gdańsk, which is used for oil re-exports. In Schwedt the Druzhba pipeline is connected with the MVL pipeline to Rostock and Spergau. The southern branch runs south through Ukraine. In Brody the Druzhba pipeline is connected with the Odessa-Brody pipeline, which is currently used to ship oil from the Druzhba pipeline to the Black Sea. In Uzhgorod the pipeline splits into lines to Slovakia (Druzhba-1 - original Druzhba route) and to Hungary (Druzhba-2). The line through Slovakia is divided once again near Bratislava: one branch leading in a northwest direction to the Czech Republic and the other going southward to Hungary. The Druzhba-1 pipeline branches off toward Hungary in Banská Bystrica Region (Slovakia) near the river of Ipeľ, crosses the Hungarian border at Drégelypalánk and leads to Százhalombatta (not depicted on the map at the beginning of the page). In Hungary, the Druzhba-1 pipeline supplies Duna refinery while Druzhba-2 supplies Duna and Tisza refineries.
The ORLEN Lietuva in Lithuania and Ventspils oil terminal in Latvia are connected to the main pipeline by the branch pipeline from Unecha junction in Bryansk Oblast (not shown on the map). This branch has ceased operation in 2006 and is not likely to become operational in any time soon.
The part of Druzhba pipeline system, which runs via Belarus, is 2,910 kilometres (1,810 mi) long. The length of the pipeline in Ukraine is 1,490 kilometres (930 mi), in Poland in 670 kilometres (420 mi), in Hungary 130 kilometres (80 mi), in Lithuania 332 kilometres (206 mi), in Latvia 420 kilometres (261 mi), and in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic together around 400 kilometres (250 mi). The pipeline crosses 45 major rivers as well as 200 railways and highways.
The pipes for the project were manufactured in the Soviet Union and Poland, while fittings were manufactured in Czechoslovakia. The GDR was responsible for pumps and Hungary - for automation and communication equipment. The construction cost nearly 400 million rubles and nearly 730,000 tons of pipe was laid throughout the path of the pipeline. The Druzhba pipeline currently has a capacity of 1.2 to 1.4 million barrels per day (190×103 to 220×103 m3/d). Work is currently underway to increase this in the section between Belarus and Poland. The pipe diameter of the pipeline varies from 420 to 1,020 millimetres (17 to 40 in). It uses 20 pumping stations.
The Russian part of the pipeline is operated by the oil company Transneft through its subsidiary OAO MN Druzhba. In Belarus the operator is Gomeltransneft Druzhba, in Ukraine - UkrTransNafta, in Poland - PERN Przyjazn SA, in Slovakia - Transpetrol AS, in the Czech Republic - Mero and in Hungary - MOL.
Parallel disputes on transit fees
For the last several years, Russia and Ukraine have been tied up in transit fee disputes as the major pipelines supplying Europe with Russian oil and gas run through Ukraine. The continuous disputes were primarily based on transit of natural gas. On December 28, 2009, referring to Russia's announcement, Slovakian government said Russia issued warnings that it would stop oil supplies to Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic over a transit fees dispute with Ukraine. However, the next day, Ukraine's Naftogas issued a statement confirming that Russia agreed to a 30 percent increase in the transit fees through Ukraine. The alleged rise in the tariff will be from $7.8 to $9.50 (or €6.6) per tonne of oil for transiting Ukraine in 2010 and was implemented due to the decision from the Russian side to raise prices of the energy resources. Additionally, unlike previous payments, new payments will be made in Euros as this was one of Ukraine's demands. Also Ukraine needs substantial investments to update the network on its territory as the pipeline grows old. Russia and Ukraine also agreed on the volume of oil to be transported through Ukraine. The overall amount of oil to be transported to Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary through Ukraine in 2010 will be 15 million tonnes - a decrease from 17.1 million tonnes in 2008.
Druzhba Wilhelmshaven Oil Pipeline
There have been proposals to extend northern branch of the Druzhba pipeline to the German North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven, which would reduce oil tanker traffic in the Baltic Sea and make it easier to transport Russian oil to the United States. In 2007, German Oil Trading Gmbh (GOT) proposed to build a connection from Unecha to Wilhelmshaven with a possible branch to Polish and German oil refineries. The proposed connection would be 1,800 kilometres (1,100 mi) long and would have capacity of 25 million tonnes of oil a year, which may be increased to 50 million tonnes. The expected cost of this project is US$2.5-billion and it may be operational already in 2010.
The Druzhba-Adria Pipeline Integration Project was a proposal that was considered in the 2000s to extend the pipeline to pass through Hungary and Croatia to reach the Adriatic Sea at the deep-water port of Omišalj. In the first phase, the Croatian portion of the Adria pipeline would be reconstructed from the Sisak pumping station to Omišalj harbour. The Croatian company JANAF was responsible for the design of the initial project phase, to reverse the phases of the Adria pipeline (which currently carries oil from the port inland) on the Sisak-Omišalj portion.
The proposal was touted by the Croatian president Stipe Mesić but it also garnered a lot of negative press due to complaints from the environmentalist groups such as Eko Kvarner, and was eventually abandoned.
Schwechat–Bratislava Oil Pipeline
Schwechat–Bratislava two-way oil pipeline project was proposed in 2003. It would allow to supply the OMV owned Schwechat Refinery from the Druzhba pipeline.
Baltic Pipeline System-2
The Baltic Pipeline System-2 (BPS-2) is an under construction pipeline from the Unecha junction of the Druzhba pipeline near the Russia-Belarus border to the Ust-Luga oil terminal at the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland with a 172 kilometres (107 mi) long branch line to Kirishi oil refinery. The throughput capacity of BPS-2 will be 30 to 50 million tonnes of oil annually. The construction of the BPS-2 started on 10 June 2009.
- Russia–Ukraine gas disputes
- Russia–Belarus energy dispute
- Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline - the next longest oil pipeline after Druzhba
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