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Poland has tapped into its emergency oil reserves in order to keep key refineries operating after contaminated crude oil forced the shutdown of the Druzhba oil pipeline carrying oil from Russia to customers in Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.
“Poland has notified us that they are releasing emergency oil stocks to maintain normal operations at their two refineries supplied on the line,” S&P Global Platts quoted a statement from the IEA.
Last week, several countries, including Poland, shut down the flow of Russian crude oil via the Druzhba pipeline after traces of contamination were found. The oil was contaminated with organic chlorine, a substance used in oil production to boost output but dangerous in high amounts for refining equipment. The amounts of the chemical were found to be at levels much higher than the maximum allowable amount.
The tainted oil that flew through the Druzhba oil pipeline from Russia to customers in Europe was “deliberately contaminated” at a private terminal, according to Russia’s oil pipeline operator Transneft.
While the contamination issue is squeezing oil supply to European refiners, OPEC’s production cuts are expected to support global oil prices this year, according to the monthly Reuters survey of 31 analysts and economists published on Tuesday.
In this month’s survey, experts predicted that Brent Crude would average US$68.57 a barrel this year, up from US$67.12 they had expected in the Reuters poll in March.
WTI Crude, on the other hand, is expected to average US$60.23 a barrel in 2019, up from US$58.92 a barrel forecast in the March poll.
Analysts raised their forecasts for a second month in a row and are now predicting the highest oil prices so far this year in the Reuters polls, as they see the market further tightening due to the end of the U.S. sanction waivers for all Iranian oil customers, Venezuela’s plunging production, and concern over potential outages in conflict-torn Libya.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.